While Tadej Pogacčar (UAE Team Emirates) showed a glimpse of vulnerability for the first time in this year's Tour de France when he was dropped by Jonas Vingegaard on the second ascent of Mont Ventoux on stage 11, the yellow jersey still had enough to catch the young Dane on the descent of the final climb and finish with a small group of favourites that also included Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).
The main losers on a day in which the Tour de France crested the summit of Mont Ventoux twice were Ben O'Connor (AG2R-Citroën), Enric Mas (Team Movistar) and David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ), with all three riders distanced on the stage. Gaudu was even dropped on the first ascent of Mont Ventoux and would eventually fall outside of the top twenty in the overall standings.
O'Connor came into the stage sitting second overall after his solo win before the first rest-day in this year's Tour and he talked about a possible podium bid ahead of Wednesday's crucial stage with a healthy buffer over a clutch of riders including Uran, Carapaz and Mas. However, the young Australian came unstuck with around 30km to go in the stage and despite bravely managing his effort he lost close to four minutes on Pogačar and dropped three places to fifth at 5:58 off yellow.
Mas managed to hold onto the GC group for far longer but he too was distanced alongside Michael Woods with around 23km to after a relentless pace was set by Ineos Grenadiers. The former Vuelta a España runner-up would cross the line after the long descent off Mont Ventoux in tenth place, 3:02 down on breakaway stage winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo Visma). The Spaniard now sits eighth at 7:11 having dropped to two places.
David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), 10th in the general classification at the start of the day, was the hardest hit, having spent most of the stage off the back. The Frenchman finished 25:07 down.
Pogačar would cross the line in fourth place alongside Uran, Carapaz and Vingegaard after the young Dane had been caught on the descent but the sight of the race leader following Vingegaard before cracking and slipping back to over 30 seconds at the summit of the final ascent briefly ignited the GC battle.
With O’Connor cracking and losing so much time Uran moved up a place from third to second with the 2017 runner-up 5:18 down on the race leader. Carapaz, who had his team on the front from around 140km from the line, also moved up a place to fourth at 5:33 but Vingegaard is a second ahead of him in third and looks like a genuine contender for the podium after his team lost race favourite Primož Roglič earlier in the race.
Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Premier-Tech) were unable to follow Vingegaard’s attack or Uran, Carapaz and Pogacar in the closing stages of the last climb but they worked well and limited their losses to finish eighth and ninth on the stage. The pair now sit just outside the top five with Kelderman at 6:16 and Lutsenko at 6:30.
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) sits ninth on GC after a consistent performance, while Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) completes the top ten.
|General classification after stage 11|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||43:44:38|
|2||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo||0:05:18|
|3||Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma||0:05:32|
|4||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||0:05:33|
|5||Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team||0:05:58||-0:03:57|
|6||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:06:16|
|7||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech||0:06:30||-0:00:18|
|8||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:07:11||-0:01:24|
|9||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||0:09:29||-0:02:27|
|10||Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:10:28||-0:01:50|
|11||Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:15:35||-0:03:57|
|12||Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:24:44||-0:12:50|
|13||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||0:25:21||+0:1:38|
|14||Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange||0:25:53||-0:03:31|
|15||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:30:51||-0:23:29|
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