Another day in the mountains at the Tour de France brought another win for the breakaway in grim conditions as Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) proved the strongest from the early breakaway to clinch a stage win on his race debut.
Minutes down the mountain, though, maillot jaune Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and the rest of the general classification resumed hostilities as the battle for the podium spots behind the Slovenian kicked off.
He once again proved the strongest of the GC men, as if that was in any doubt after the events of stage 8, responding to an attempt by Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) to put him under pressure at the four-kilometre mark before simply riding away from his rivals for the second day in succession.
While O'Connor slotted into the second place vacated by Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert at 2:01 behind Pogačar as the only man within five minutes of the race lead, the 22-year-old gained a over half a minute on the riders who had accompanied him in the GC group.
Finishing in sixth on the stage, 6:02 down on O'Connor, Pogačar put 32 seconds into Carapaz, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Enric Mas (Movistar), and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo).
Urán now lies third overall, 5:18 behind the leader, while Vingegaard follows at 5:32 ahead of Carapaz a second behind and Mas on 5:47.
Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) remains in seventh place – the only non-mover in the top 10 aside from Pogačar – having lost 45 seconds to him. Another 45 seconds would pass before David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) finished – the Frenchman drops a place to 10th at 7:22.
His compatriot, the best Frenchman on the stage Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), moves up to ninth after finishing fourth on the day 26 seconds up on Pogačar. Meanwhile, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) drops five places to eighth having finished four seconds down on Gaudu.
Places 11 to 20 saw some big gains from riders out in the day's break, including Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who moves up seven places to 12th, 11:38 down, after finishing second on the stage.
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) was among the first to drop from the elite GC group on the final climb, and as a result of losing 1:57 to Pogačar he drops to 11th overall, though three minutes up on Cattaneo.
Further back, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) – now 16th – and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) – a place lower – both moved up 13 places after getting in the break of the day, but they both remain over 20 minutes down.
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) is the last man inside 20 minutes. The 25-year-old finished 10:23 down on his teammate O'Connor but stays in 13th at 11:54.
|Pos. (⍙)||Rider (Country) Team||GC Time||Time gain/(loss) on leader|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||34:11:10|
|2 (+12)||Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team||0:02:01||0:06:02|
|3 (+1)||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo||0:05:18||(0:00:32)|
|4 (+1)||Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma||0:05:32||(0:00:32)|
|5 (+1)||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||0:05:33||(0:00:32)|
|6 (+2)||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:05:47||(0:00:32)|
|7 (-)||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:05:58||(0:00:45)|
|8 (-5)||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech||0:06:12||(0:01:34)|
|9 (+3)||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||0:07:02||0:00:26|
|10 (-1)||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:07:22||(0:01:30)|
|11 (-1)||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:08:38||(0:01:57)|
|12 (+7)||Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:11:38||0:0:55|
|13 (-)||Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:11:54||(0:04:21)|
Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in August 2019 after working as a freelance journalist for seven years, including time spent working for Cyclingnews and sister magazine, Procycling.
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