LARUNS, France (Reuters) – Primoz Roglic took control of the Tour de France despite a narrow loss to fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar in the ninth stage as Briton Adam Yates’ limits were revealed in the second test in mountain Sunday.
The Slovenian played it safe on the last ascent of the day, but it was enough for him to climb to the top of the standings in a ninth stage won by the Tour Pogacar debutant.
Pogacar, 21, the most offensive rider on the final climb to the Col de Marie Blanque, edged Roglic and Swiss fumble Marc Hirschi to climb to seventh overall, 44 seconds behind.
“It was an incredible day, I gave everything on the last climb but I couldn’t let my rivals down. But the stage victory makes up for that, ”said Pogacar, who finished third overall on his Vuelta debut last year.
Defending champion Egan Bernal finished in the leading group of five and is second in the overall standings, 21 seconds behind Roglic.
Yates, who made no secret of his limited Tour ambitions, finished the stage in 15th place, 54 seconds behind, and dropped to eighth place overall.
As the race enters its first day of rest, when all riders will be tested for the coronavirus, Roglic is in pole position but Colombian Bernal, who is relishing the long climbs of the Alps ahead in week three, is also there. that he wanted to be.
After attacking on the last climb on Saturday, Pogacar was on the offensive again as he climbed the Col de Marie Blanque, a 7.7 km effort with an average gradient of 8.6%, but Roglic, Bernal and Spaniard Mikel Landa followed.
Roglic collected a five-second bonus at the top of the pass, 18 kilometers from the finish, and the small group caught up with former Under-23 world champion Hirschi 2.5 kilometers from the line.
Pogacar was the fastest man on the line as he gained more time after losing 1:20 in the cross winds on Friday.
Frenchman Guillaume Martin, who started the day second overall, slipped down in third, 28 seconds behind, after losing contact with the best guns during the ascent of the Col de Marie Blanque.
The day after Thibaut Pinot lost all hope of becoming the first local Tour winner in 35 years, another Frenchman, Romain Bardet, was in fourth place overall, 30 seconds behind Roglic.