LE GRAND-BORNAND, France — Tadej Pogacar dealt a demoralizing blow to his remaining Tour de France rivals on the primary day within the Alps, the place the defending champion claimed the yellow jersey in Saturday’s grueling eighth stage.
Pogacar strengthened his bid to retain his Tour title after proving as soon as once more to be a step above the remainder on the most-demanding ascents. The 22-year-old Slovenian set off on his personal on the fourth of 5 categorized climbs, shedding Richard Carapaz, the final man — and attainable contender — to have stored on his wheel.
“Ultimately I felt nice, so earlier than the final two climbs I mentioned to my teammates, ‘let’s attempt to sake up the race,'” Pogacar mentioned.
Pogacar completed the 150.8-kilometer (93.7-mile) trek over 5 mountain passes from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand in fourth place, seconds behind stage winner Dylan Teuns.
Teuns, a Belgian rider for the Bahrain group, managed to preserve a slim lead over the hard-pushing Pogacar over the ultimate peak earlier than negotiating the difficult descent to the end line.
Mathieu van der Poel relinquished the lead he had held for six days when he light quick halfway via the brutal stage, ending greater than 20 minutes after the winner.
Wout van Aert remained in second place however fell from 30 seconds behind at first of the stage to 1 minute, 48 seconds behind Pogacar.
Carapaz completed over three minutes behind Pogacar and the Ecuadorian is now 5 minutes again total in fifth.
The peloton was in poor form to carry up within the mountains after a crash-filled opening week and Friday’s marathon 249-kilometer (155-mile) trek. The longest stage within the Tour in 21 years had exhausted all however a handful of riders — together with Pogacar.
And extra ache was in retailer within the Alps.
In an omen for what was to come back, a number of cyclists have been already struggling proper from the beginning. The brief ascent underneath a lightweight rainfall heading up into the Alpine forest broke the pack into bits.
Geraint Thomas, who gained in 2018, quickly fell behind. Primoz Roglic shortly adopted and his Jumbo Visma group left final 12 months’s runner-up sadly alone. Each pre-race title hopefuls, who had taken tumbles within the first week, fully disconnected even earlier than the intense ascents began.
Pogacar timed his devastating assault till the ascent of the category-one Col de Romme.
Whereas different riders have been hunched over the handlebars, Pogacar rode excessive, elevating off his seat to energy up the ascent in pursuit of the handful of breakaway riders.
Once more displaying that he doesn’t want a lot assist from his Emirates group, Pogacar rode the ultimate 30 kilometers up and over the category-one Col de la Colombiere all on his personal.
Pogacar had misplaced an enormous chunk of time he had gained within the time trial earlier this week over Friday’s trek, ending fifth total, 3:43 off the tempo. He made that up after which some after letting it rip up the rain-slick mountain roads, reinforcing his place because the clear favourite.
On Sunday, riders face a second day within the mountains with a 145-kilometer (90-mile) experience over 4 passes earlier than a summit end at Tignes.