The Day – Roglic Imperial on Tour de France Stage 13 won by Martinez

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The slow fight for the Tour de France yellow jersey erupted on the remnants of a once-giant volcano on Friday, with race leader Primoz Roglic using his grueling inclines to increase his overall lead.Glancing down the last climb that rose to the sky, Roglic thought to himself, “Whoa, this is going to hurt.” ”

But it hurt Slovenian rivals even more.

“We were all at the limit,” he said.

One of the big losers of the 13th stage was Egan Bernal, the Colombian champion from last year who couldn’t match Roglic’s pace on the difficult final climb of Puy Mary.

Bernal went from second to third in the overall standings and collapsed exhausted on his handlebars at the top.

Tadej Pogacar, the only rider able to stay with Roglic on the last climb, moved from seventh to second overall.

He trails Roglic by 44 seconds. The Tour rookie, who will be celebrating his 22nd birthday the day after the end of the race and is also from Slovenia, could have even worn the yellow jersey had he not suffered a setback earlier in the Tour.

On stage 7, he came out of the top 10, having lost precious time in crosswinds. But Pogacar has gravely found his way home, flooding the race with his precocious talent by winning Stage 9 and now creating the possibility of an all-Slovenian battle for the top podium spots in Paris if rivals can’t stop their momentum.

“He’s super strong,” Roglic said of Pogacar. “Still a lot of exciting races to come. ”

Bernal fell back to 59 seconds behind Roglic, the winner of last year’s Spanish Vuelta who increasingly seeks the firm favorite to win on the Champs-Elysées in eight days.

The intense stage, one of the most difficult of this race with a succession of endless roller coasters of seven remarkable climbs, was won by Colombian rider Daniel Martinez. He had been part of a breakaway of lower-ranked riders chasing the stage victory of Roglic and other top contenders because they weren’t threats for the yellow jersey.

Martinez, winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné in August which served as the finalization for the Tour, beat the German driver Lennard Kämna at the top of the Puy Mary climb.

The 191-kilometer (119-mile) trek through the hills and mountains of the Massif Central was one of the most difficult on this Tour, with the highest total vertical drop of all stages – a whopping 4,400 meters of ascent in all.

The effort was written big on the faces of Bernal and other runners who slowly lost contact with Roglic on the Puy Mary, with gradients of 15%.

“A tough day and a tough climb,” Roglic said. “You are in great pain.”

But he made it look easy, showing how difficult it would be to snatch the yellow jersey from him during the climax last week.

“Each day is closer and closer to the end,” he says. “As long as you can save time, every second is good. ”

At the start in the spa town of Châtel-Guyon, barely 1 minute and 42 seconds separated Roglic and the Spanish rider Mikel Landa, 10th – the smallest stage 13 gap between the top 10 of any Tour since the Second World War.

But Roglic changed all that on the road. The gap between him and the new 10th driver, Enric Mas, is now 2 minutes 54 seconds.

The French Guillaume Martin and Romain Bardet, respectively third and fourth overall, came completely out of the top 10.

Bardet was hampered by a fall in the middle of the special which also beat the Dutchman Bauke Mollema, 13th. Bardet scratched himself off the tarmac and continued but Mollema broke his left wrist and was forced to abandon what had been his 10th Round.

Runners will not have a break the upcoming climbing weekend, until Monday’s second and final rest day, when all runners and team staff will be retested for COVID-19.

Saturday’s lumpy 14th stage with a pass, several hills and a downhill finish to the gastronomic city of Lyon is unlikely to upset the agenda. The best contenders will instead prepare themselves for a very difficult uphill finish on the 15th stage on Sunday.

The long and winding ascent of the Grand Colombier on Sunday in the Jura mountains, one of the five ranges climbed by this Tour, could once again shake up the rankings. It is preceded by a quick succession of two more difficult climbs that will burn the legs of the riders before fighting on the steep slopes until the finish.



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