Pogacar wins stage but Roglic claims yellow

LARUNS (France) • Primoz Roglic took command of the Tour de France despite narrowly losing out to fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar on the ninth stage, as Briton Adam Yates’ limits were exposed in the second mountain test yesterday.

The race favourite played it safe on the last climb of the day, but it was enough for him to take the yellow jersey and move to the top of the standings despite coming second in a near photo finish.

Tour debutant Pogacar, the most attacking rider on the final climb (a 7.7km effort at an average gradient of 8.6 per cent) up to the Col de Marie-Blanque, outsprinted Roglic and breakaway rider Marc Hirschi of Switzerland to move up to seventh overall, 44 seconds off the pace.

He gained back more time after losing 1min 20sec in the crosswinds on Friday.

“It was an amazing day, I gave everything in the last climb but I could not drop my rivals. But the stage win makes up for it,” said the 21-year-old, who finished third overall in his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

“Primoz has won before and will win more. I hope we can do great things together (as Slovenians).”

Defending champion Egan Bernal finished fourth in the five-man leading group to sit in second place overall, 21sec behind Roglic.

Yates, who made no mystery of his limited ambitions on the Tour, ended the stage in 15th place, 54sec off the pace, and dropped to eighth overall at 1:02 back.

As the race heads into its first rest stop today, when all the riders will be submitted to a coronavirus test, Roglic sits in pole position but Colombian Bernal, who relishes the long climbs of the Alps coming in the third week, is also where he wanted to be.

The day after Thibaut Pinot lost all hope of becoming the first local winner of the Tour in 35 years, Frenchman Guillaume Martin, who started the day second overall, slid to third, 28sec off the pace, after losing touch with the top guns on the ascent. Compatriot Romain Bardet is fourth, 30sec behind Roglic.

REUTERS

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