Tour de France: Ben O’Connor wins a daunting 9th stage, Tadej Pogacar remains in yellow

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The Australian AG2R-Citroën rider, Ben O’Connor, won Sunday in Tignes, during the first summit finish of the Tour de France 2021. Tadej Pogacar confirmed his advantage for the yellow jersey over his main competitors.

Like the day before, the rain was invited on the roads of the Tour de France to complicate the task of the climbers during the second and final alpine stage of the 2021 edition of the Grande Boucle, Sunday July 4. Ben O’Connor, present in the breakaway of the day, crossed the line first in Tignes arriving alone. He let go of his companions Nairo Quintana and Sergio Higuita at the bottom of the last climb.

Tadej Pogacar stayed warm in the peloton. His team helped him manage his lead to avoid leaving the yellow jersey to the winner of the day. He finally placed an attack at the end of the last climb to take around 30 seconds over his main competitors.

Pogacar changed dolphin, since O’Connor reached second place in the standings, 2:01 am behind the Slovenian.

A stage without Roglic and Van der Poel

Cold and rain hardened the race in this stage, which started out once again with a bang, without two major players, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic and the Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, already turned towards the Tokyo Olympics.

Colombian Nairo Quintana, in search of the best climber’s polka-dot jersey, took the lead in the descent of the Col des Saisies, more than 90 kilometers from the finish. He was joined before the Col du Pré, the third of the five climbs of the day, by other members of the breakaway (Higuita, O’Connor, Hamilton, Poels then Woods).

Quintana kept Higuita and O’Connor with him in Cormet de Roselend before suffering a failure at the foot of the very long climb to Tignes (21 km at 5.6%). In turn, Higuita stuck 18 kilometers from the finish and left O’Connor alone in the lead.

Gaudu let go

The thinned peloton around Pogacar, whose delay had peaked at 9 minutes until giving O’Connor a completely virtual yellow jersey, began to get closer in this very fast ascent before losing weight again.

On the line, O’Connor was more than four minutes ahead of Italian Mattia Cattaneo, on the counterattack in the final. The Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli, however cataloged road-sprinter, took third place ahead of Frenchman Guillaume Martin.

In the last four kilometers, Pogacar countered a start from Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and crossed the line in sixth position, in the wake of the interposed runners. Frenchman David Gaudu let go and gave up nearly a minute to his rivals for the general classification behind Pogacar, once again superior in the mountains.

O’Connor, 25, joined the elite in 2017. Winner of Madonna di Campiglio’s mountain stage last year on the Giro, he was recruited in the offseason by the French team of Vincent Lavenu for whom he stood out at the recent Dauphiné (8th).

With AFP

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