Laruns, France (AP) – Primoz Roglic snatched the race leader’s yellow jersey as debutant Marc Hirschi of Switzerland delivered an impressive 90-kilometer solo effort on four Pyrenean climbs on stage 9 frenetic Tour de France Sunday.
Hirschi, a former Under-23 road racing world champion, escaped the peloton on the first major ascent of the 153 kilometer high mountain trek and then resisted chasing the favorites until he is caught two kilometers from the end.
Hirschi sprinted towards the finish line but was not fast enough as Tadej Pogacar won the stage ahead of Roglic. Hirschi finished third in the town of Laruns.
Prior to Monday’s first day of rest, Roglic dethroned day leader Adam Yates with bonus time he accumulated at the top of the final climb and at the finish line.Hirschi, 22, took the first at the top of the Cold de la Hourcere with a lead of 1:35 and gave everything on the slippery roads of the technical and perilous descent that followed. Pedaling crouched on the frame of his bike and taking aggressive lines in the turns, Hirschi increased his lead and tackled the climb of the final climb, the Col de Marie Blanque, with a four-minute lead over the group of pursuers of the main contenders.
As the battle between the top runners came to life in The Rise of the Monster, Hirschi saw his lead fade into thin air but fought to the very end.
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