Categories
Australian News

Richie Porte set for Tour de France podium as Tadej Pogacar crushes rival in thrilling penultimate stage


In an incredible climax to the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar crushed his fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, in the last stage before the finish in Paris.

Pogacar is now poised to win the Tour de France after claiming the overall leader’s yellow jersey after clocking 55 minutes, 55 seconds in the time-trial stage.

Pogacar not only secured the yellow jersey in the time trial, he won the stage too. Roglic had started with a lead of 57 seconds over his countryman.

The upset comes as Australian Richie Porte is poised to take third place on the podium in Paris.

He’s the second Australian to achieve the feat since Cadel Evans in 2011.

Loading

The Tasmanian, who was sitting in fourth place, leapfrogged Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez into third place overall by finishing the 20th stage in third spot.

Loading

Pogacar’s win all but guarantees the 21-year-old will become the youngest victor in more than 100 years, since Henri Cornet in 1904.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Pogacar said after Roglic laboured to the finish, no longer in the race lead.

Loading

Stage 20 was a 36.2-kilometre individual time trial between Lure and La Planche des Belles Filles.

Pogacar won the solo effort against the clock as Roglic cracked in the uphill section, a 5.9 kilometre climb at an average gradient of 8.5 per cent.

A person on a bicycle in lycra rides in the tour de france.
Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar wins and takes the overall leader’s yellow jersey as he crosses the finish line of stage 20 of the Tour de France.(AP: Thibault Camus)

“I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream,” said Pogacar, who now leads second-placed Roglic by 59 seconds ahead of Sunday’s final stage, a largely processional ride to the Champs Elysees in Paris where only the final sprint is contested.

“Getting the yellow jersey on the final day, we were dreaming of it since the start. I knew every corner on the road, thanks to the work of my team.

“I think that my head is going to explode.”

Loading

A raw talent who holds no fear, Pogacar, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, now holds three distinctive jerseys — the yellow, the white jersey for the best under-25 rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.

The upset echoes that of the last day of the 1989 Tour de France when American Greg LeMond won the race by eight seconds over France’s Laurent Fignon after starting the time-trial 50 seconds off the pace.

After losing all hope of overall victory following a crash in the opening stage, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot rode through impressive crowds and smoke in his hometown of Melisey, where the roads had his name and that of his goat Kim painted all over them, adding to the sense of surrealism on the day.

Porte says third place ‘feels like victory’

Porte said his brilliant time trial ride to all but claim third spot on the penultimate day of Tour de France felt as good as winning the race.

The Tasmanian started the 99 seconds behind Miguel Angel Lopez in fourth, but produced the time trial of his life to finish 1:21 behind Pogacar’s stunning 55:55 to leapfrog the Colombian.

Australia's Richie Porte wearing white rides up a French peak, mouth open as another cyclist smiles from behind.
Richie Porte is now poised to claim third place in the Tour de France.(Reuters: Stephane Mahe)

Porte has endured so much disappointment over the years, including an untimely puncture early in the 2016 Tour that eventually cost him a likely podium finish.

He also crashed out in 2017 and 2018.

But aside from a puncture scare inside the final 8km of the 14th stage last week, where he was forced to jump on teammate Kenny Elissonde’s bike to stay in touch with the main group, Porte has enjoyed a largely trouble-free Tour.

“This means so much to me,” Porte told ITV Sport.

“I came here without any real pressure. In the lockdown I didn’t even think this race was going to happen.

“There’s been so many years of disappointment, crashes and whatever and dramas.

“We’ve had dramas here like in Leon with Kenny’s bike the other day with the puncture so to come away with the podium is amazing.

“It’s no secret that I will be leaving Trek-Segafredo … but the way they have got around me this year and supported me has been fantastic.

“I had the world champion as my bodyguard and all of the boys have played their part it’s incredible.”

Porte’s involvement in the delayed running of the race forced him to miss the birth of his daughter Eloise last week in Monaco and he admitted he’d considered missing the race altogether but was persuaded to take part by wife Gemma.

“I missed the birth of my second child but my wife told me to race and said if she saw me sulking at the back of the peloton she would be upset with me,” he said.

“So to come here and finish third … this is sweet.

“I am over the moon, this feels like a victory for me.”

ABC/wires



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Richie Porte could time trial himself onto the Tour de France podium


After more than 3,300km and 83 hours of racing, the Tour de France is tantalisingly close to reaching its ultimate destination in Paris.

And, although there are only two Australian riders at this year’s race, there’s a real possibility that both will be standing on a podium on the Champs Elysees.

Sprinter Caleb Ewan has admirably managed to haul himself through the high Alps and, if his legs have recovered enough, could reprise his performance from last year’s race by winning the Tour’s final sprint on the cobbles of the French capital.

However, in terms of overall honours, Ewan is the best part of six hours behind the leaders and well off the pace in the green jersey standings.

A smiling Caleb Ewan raises one finger after crossing the finish line.
Can Caleb Ewan repeat his victory on the Champs Elysees this year?(Reuters: Christian Hartmann)

Richie Porte though, is much closer to the top of the pile and is in with a genuine chance of making the overall podium for the first time.

Porte currently sits in fourth — which would already mark his best-ever finish.

If he is able to battle his way into third place, he will become just the second Australian to finish on the podium at the Tour de France.

Standing between him and a famous result is a 36.2km individual time trial from Lure to the summit of the short but sharp climb of La Planche des Belles Filles.

Is Richie Porte a good time trial rider?

Porte has a handful of professional time trial victories to his name, although none of note since the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine.

However, this is not a classic time trial.

Due to the extreme ramp up La Planche des Belles Filles to finish the stage, climbing ability will be important — and that could play in his favour.

Richie Porte on Willunga Hill
Richie Porte has great pedigree on Willunga Hill that may help him conquer La Planche des Belles Filles.(Supplied: Meaghan Coles Photography)

Thanks to his exploits at the Tour Down Under, Porte is known as the King of Willunga Hill.

Porte won the stage that ends on Old Willunga Hill every year between 2014 and 2019 — which should put him in good stead to tackle tonight’s stage.

However, La Planche des Belles Filles is almost double the length (5.9km to 3.7km) and noticeably steeper (8.5 per cent to 7 per cent) than Willunga Hill.

There is little doubt that the Tour summit is harder than its South Australian counterpart, with a brutal 20 per cent ramp in the closing stages that will have the weaker climbers zigzagging all over the road just to stay upright.

Despite that, the Tasmanian’s pedigree on climbs like that can’t hurt.

Who are Richie Porte’s closest competitors?

Two cyclists, one in a white jersey ahead of one in yellow, straining as they ride.
Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic are the ones to beat.

Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar (+59 seconds) are relatively clear of the chasing pack — and are both excellent time trialists.

Roglic won three individual time trials in grand tours last year — although the race leader was pipped (by just nine seconds) at the Slovenian national championships in June by Pogacar.

The battle for the overall lead is still likely to be between the two Slovenians but, with such a brutal ramp up to the summit of the final climb, contenders could lose minutes if they misjudge their effort and run out of gas.

So the Slovenian pair are far from out of the woods yet, meaning third-placed Miguel Angel Lopez should be a genuine target for Porte.

The Colombian showed he has good climbing legs after his impressive win in stage 17, but Porte should have his match on the flat.

There is precedent for Australians making late charges in Tour de France time trials.

Cadel Evans trailed Andy Schleck by 57 seconds heading into the 20th stage, a 42.5km time trial in Grenoble.

However, he overhauled the notoriously poor time-trialist Schleck and his brother Frank to claim a historic victory and wear the yellow jersey into Paris.

Cadel Evans holds his bicycle in front of the Arc de Triomphe after winning the Tour de France
Cadel Evans won the Tour in 2011, but he was behind heading into the penultimate stage.(REUTERS: Pascal Rossignol)

It’s not just those above Porte in the rankings that pose a threat, though.

Spaniards Mikel Landa and Enric Mas are both within touching distance of Porte, which might make things interesting.

Can Porte make up time on the final stage?

If the time gaps are still small heading into the final stage, could Porte attack his rivals and potentially win back seconds to get on the podium?

For a variety of reasons, that’s not really likely, unfortunately, which is why everything rides on the penultimate time trial stage.

Part of the reason for that is one of the many instances of cycling etiquette, such as not attacking the leader if he suffers a mechanical.

Almost every year since the Tour peloton first rolled to a halt on the Champs Elysees in 1975, the final stage has been a procession, allowing the winning team a chance to enjoy their victory after a brutal three weeks of racing.

Britain's Geraint Thomas, left, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and Britain's Christopher Froome toast with Champagne
Champagne tends to substitute for more typical sports hydration on the final roll into Paris.(AP: Marco Bertorello)

Even when the Tour has been nail-bitingly close on the final stage, there have been no attempts to attack the leader from the man in second.

Want an example? Cadel Evans trailed Alberto Contador by 23 seconds in the 2007 edition of the race and still did not attack into Paris.

This was mostly for the other, principle reason. Practicality.

The final stage is always as flat as a pancake and relatively short — this year’s 122.5km makes it the shortest of the Tour by around 20km (with the exception of the Time Trial).

On such a course, it would take an enormous effort to create a breakaway from the peloton and then stay away on the Champs Elysees circuit, testing the tired legs of your teammates to the limit.

And it’s not just the leader’s team you’d be working against.

The sprinters teams, such as Caleb Ewan’s Lotto Soudal, would be loath to allow the race to end in anything other than a bunch sprint.

Caleb Ewan holds one hand in the air and points to the sky
Caleb Ewan will want to add to his two stage victories — and the sprinters teams will make sure the stage ends in a bunch sprint.(Pool via AP: Christophe Petit-Tesson)

Has the last stage ever been a race for overall position?

Although it has become commonplace to have a processional final stage, there have been occasions where that hasn’t happened — and it’s lead to some stunning drama.

The only time in recent years that there has been a change in leader on the final day just happened to feature the closest finish in Tour de France history.

In 1989, Greg Lemond overhauled Frenchman Laurent Fignon in a final stage time trial to win by just 8 seconds.

No Frenchman has ever come so close to winning the Tour since then, and although it might be churlish to suggest that the mental scars from that incident has meant no Tour de France director would dare end a Tour in such a way again, it probably hasn’t helped.

At the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin won a time trial on the final stage into Milan to overhaul Nairo Quintana by 31 seconds.



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Richie Porte’s Tour de France podium punctured before fightback as Primoz Roglic tightens grip on yellow jersey


Richie Porte was forced to fight back from adversity on stage 14 of the Tour de France to keep his hopes of a podium finish alive.

The Australian was riding in the pack chasing the breakaway of Polish stage winner Michal Kwiatkowski and his Ineos teammate Richard Carapaz of Ecuador when potential disaster hit.

As the group were riding through gravel roads between green meadows, Porte suffered a front tyre puncture that saw him drop off the pack with 27 kilometres to the stage finish.

As he battled with a wheel that wouldn’t turn properly it took more than 30 seconds for the team car to reach the Australian rider and get him a new bike.

While that was happening race leaders Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar and Miguel Angel Lopez pushed on, dropping the Australian to around 45 seconds behind.

Porte though was not to be denied and worked hard, riding strongly out of turns on steep descents to eventually catch back up the the group with 9 kilometres left on the stage.

Loading

It was a tremendous recovery for the Australian from his second puncture of the race and he even managed to finish the stage in sixth place to stay in fourth place in the general classification.

Pogacar said he did not know Porte had received a puncture on the gravel.

“I didn’t know Richie Porte had a puncture,” the 21-year-old said.

Porte remains over three minutes behind leader Roglic, but crucially is only 1’39” behind stage 17 winner Lopez.

And while the Colombian rider is renowned for his skills in the mountains, only a flat stage 19 leg and a final time trial, which could see Porte pull back a lot of time, remain in the race.

That means the race for the yellow jersey is likely down to just two — the Slovenian pair of Roglic and Pogacar but with a 57 second-lead Roglic will be hard to unseat.

Roglic was adamant the time trial would sort out the final results.

“The time trial will decide all the rankings, but tomorrow is another day to be focused because it’s far from a flat stage,” Roglic said.

Pogacar loses hope and polka-dots

Richard Carapaz stands arms aloft wearing the polka-dot jersey on a Tour de France dais.
Richard Carapaz is now wearing the polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France.(Reuters: Stuart Franklin)

It was in many ways a tough day for Pogacar.

The 21-year-old began the day chasing the yellow jersey, while simultaneously leading the young rider and King of the Mountain categories — at the end of it he has only the lead in the young rider classification.

“I tried on the last climb, but it was not possible to drop my rivals,” Pogacar said.

“I’m not really close to the yellow jersey, if Primoz has a super bad day, I may stand a chance but I just hope to have a good day and secure my place on the GC.”

Teammates deliver heart-warming stage finish

Loading

Pogacar lost the polka-dot jersey to Carapaz on the final day in the mountains as the Ecuadorian allowed long-time team rider Kwiatowski to take the stage as the two who broke away together finished together, arm-in-arm, just with Kwiatkowski’s tyre ahead.

“I’ve got some nice moments in cycling but that was a new experience,” Kwiatkowski said.

“I got goosebumps for the last, I don’t know how many kilometres, because I knew the gap was so big.”

Kwiatkowski also revealed it was Carapaz —who was caught late on stage 17 when he went out on his own searching for victory — that gave him the stage win.

“We are going to celebrate big time tonight because we all deserve it after so many stages.”

ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Richie Porte climbs higher on Tour de France general classification as Miguel Angel Lopez wins epic mountain stage


Australia’s Richie Porte gritted his teeth and delivered a brave performance to finish fifth on the most difficult stage yet of this year’s Tour de France which finished at the summit of Col de la Loze.

The fifth placing on the stage moved Porte up from sixth overall to fourth in the general classification as Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez took advantage of the high altitudes so familiar to him in his native country and sprinted clear in the final kilometres to take the stage victory.

The win moved him into third position overall behind yellow jersey wearer Primoz Roglic, who was second on the stage ahead of his nearest rival and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

“I feel emotional because of the work done at home with my family, my wife, my son, I dedicate this victory to them,” Lopez said.

Loading

Lopez moved to within 1:26 of Roglic, who extended his lead over Pogacar to 57 seconds after the two engaged in an epic duel to the finish line, in which Roglic seemed to break his younger countryman’s spirit.

The pair, along with Porte and Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss, had already engaged in a tough battle that started during the final ascent, which included gradients of 24 per cent on the final 21 kilometre climb.

“It was again a good day for us,” Roglic said.

“Of course, I always want to win but I gained some time and I saw that others had problems. I knew I could gain time today and that’s what we did.”

Painful climb to the finish

With four kilometres to go Kuss took off when the man who had led for much of the day — Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz — came back to the small chasing pack, but he was followed by Lopez who had far more speed.

Commentators speculated at the time that it was a poor move for Kuss to leave his teammate and yellow jersey wearer but Roglic confirmed it was all part of a plan.

“Also, the others tried to chase him back and it helped me realise many guys around me were struggling.”

Australia's Richie Porte wearing white rides up a French peak, mouth open as another cyclist smiles from behind.
Richie Porte pushes through the pain as he battles Sepp Kuss to the finish line on stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France.(Reuters: Stephane Mahe)

Loading

Porte did well just to hang on for as long as he did, having been dropped a few metres off the back of Roglic and Pogacar as they sought to jostle for second, but on multiple occasions the Australian managed to get back on their tail.

However with two kilometres to go the Slovenians showed their class and finally dropped the dogged Australian, who eventually crossed the line with American Kuss.

Porte finished the stage in fourth overall on the general classification 3’05” behind Roglic and 1’39” behind third-placed Lopez

Fans ignore COVID-19 protocols

Masked Tour de France fans converge as leading riders make a large climb.
Tour de France fans crowd around Tadej Pogacar as he makes the final climb to the stage 17 finish.(Supplied: SBS Television)

Present for the stage was French President Emmanuel Macron, but he was far from the only one and it would be hard to imagine that Tour organisers were happy with scenes that were beamed across the world as the leaders made the final climb.

This year’s Tour set against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic has seen riders frequently tested and the usual crowds sparse, but that was not the case as large numbers of cycling fans closed in on the road and leaders during the final climb.

After the stage Mr Macron told reporters: “It’s extremely important to show that we can live with the virus.”

ABC/Reuters



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Reigning Tour de France champion Egan Bernal pulls out of race ahead of 17th stage


Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has withdrawn from the race just hours before a mammoth stage in the Alps.

Bernal had been struggling since Sunday’s stage in the Jura mountains, where he dropped more than seven minutes on the main contenders and slipped out of contention.

After Monday’s rest day, Bernal suffered again on Tuesday’s 16th stage to Villard-de-Lans.

Hampered by back pain and subsequently knee concerns, the 23-year-old indicated afterwards he hoped to continue out of respect for the race.

But on the morning of Wednesday’s queen stage to the Col de la Loze above Meribel, his team Ineos Grenadiers announced the Colombian was withdrawing from the race, although it did not specify the reason for the decision.

“This is obviously not how I wanted my Tour de France to end, but I agree that it is the right decision for me in the circumstances,” Bernal said.

Bernal was in 16th place overall, 19 minutes and four seconds behind race leader Primoz Roglic.

The decision comes five days short of the race’s concluding stage in Paris.

“We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart,” Ineos Grenadiers team principal Dave Brailsford said.

“Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him and at this point, on balance, we feel it is wiser for him to stop racing.”

Bernal had pulled out of the Criterium du Dauphine with back pains last month.

A young man wearing all yellow cyclist gear holds his fist in the air while riding
Bernal, at 22, was the youngest Tour de France winner since 1909 last year.(AP: Christophe Ena)

In 2019 he became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France in 110 years.

Stage 17, arguably the toughest of the race, features the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Loze, the Tour’s highest point this year at 2,304 metres.

The traffic-free pass between the ski resorts of Meribel and Courchevel was opened to cyclists this year after a forest track was paved by local authorities.

The last six kilometres of the climb are particularly difficult, with very steep sections and sharp turns.

AP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Lennard Kaemna descends to victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France, Richie Porte in touch


Lennard Kaemna claimed his first Tour de France victory when he outwitted Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz to win the 16th stage, a 164-km ride from La Tour du Pin on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old German took advantage of Ecuadorian Carapaz’s momentary loss of focus at the top of the last climb of the day to go solo and finished one minute, 27 seconds ahead after charging down in the descent.

Swiss Sebastien Reichenbach took third place, 1:56 off the pace.

The main group of favourites, including Australian Richie Porte, finished 16 minutes, 48 seconds behind the stage winner as Slovenian Primoz Roglic retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

“It’s always tricky the day after the rest day to see how the legs respond,” Porte said after the stage.

“It was a day that really could have been super hard or gone the way it did.

Defending champion Egan Bernal, whose hopes of winning the race fell away when he cracked in Sunday’s 15th stage, was dropped from the main bunch in the ascent to Saint-Nizier, suffering from back pain.

Tadej Pogacar grimaces and rides in a white jersey in front of Primoz Roglic who is in a yellow jersey
The white and yellow jerseys shadowed each other all day, with Richie Porte close behind.(AP: Christophe Ena, Pool)

It was a day to forget for Ineos-Grenadiers, whose attention has shifted to stage wins after Bernal’s collapse, as Carapaz had to settle for second after two brutal attacks from the breakaway group in the decisive climb had left his rivals in the red.

But Kaemna, who narrowly missed out on a stage win last week when he lost a two-man sprint against Colombian Dani Martinez in Puy Mary, went solo just when Carapaz was recovering from his effort at the top.

Loading

“I didn’t want it to be another two-man sprint so when I saw Carapaz struggling a bit I thought I had to go full gas,” said Kaemna, who had also lost a two-man sprint for victory at the 2017 Under-23 world championships.

“When I saw that I was gaining a few seconds it boosted my confidence and I knew I was going to win.”

Caleb Ewan finished with three of his teammates 30 minutes behind the winners, seven minutes inside the day’s time limit.

Riders who finish outside the time limit on any particular day are removed from the race.

All 22 teams were cleared to continue the race on Tuesday after all riders and staff members returned negative coronavirus tests.

Tuesday also marked the return on the race of Tour director Christian Prudhomme, who had tested positive in the previous round of testing.

Thursday’s 17th ‘Queen’ stage is a brutal mountain trek in the Alps, over 170km and ending in Meribel at the top of the Col de la Loze, 2,304 metres above sea level.

“Tomorrow is really one of the most crucial stages, so I hope to have good legs,” Porte said.

Porte sits in sixth spot overall, 2 minutes 13 seconds off the pace as he looks to improve on his fifth-place finish at the Tour in 2016.

If he makes the podium, he will be just the second Australian to do so at the Tour de France after Cadel Evans in 2011.

Reuters/ABC



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Egan Bernal’s bad day sets up Slovenian battle in Tour de France


The Tour de France boiled down to a battle between its two star Slovenian riders on Sunday as last year’s winner Egan Bernal dropped out of realistic contention.

Tadej Pogacar beat yellow jersey-holder Primoz Roglic in a dramatic mountaintop finish to Stage 15, though Roglic retains a 40-second advantage in the yellow jersey and formidable support from teammates who shepherded him up the Grand Colombier climb.

Bernal plummeted down the standings, all but ensuring the end of a five-year streak of Tour victories by his Ineos Grenadiers team, formerly known as Team Sky.

“At the moment, Roglic seems unstoppable,” Pogacar said.

“But today Bernal cracked and maybe one day myself or Primoz will crack too.

Pogacar stayed with Roglic on the long and brutal Grand Colombier climb despite Roglic having backing from four teammates on his ascent.

They drew on their last reserves to sprint for the summit finish, Pogacar taking his second stage win by a bike-length.

Pogacar and Roglic were given the same time.

As the stage winner, Pogacar was awarded 10 bonus seconds in the general classification against Roglic’s six for second place.

Roglic leads Pogacar by 40 seconds overall.

“I was a bit too short at the end. I didn’t make any gift to Tadej,” Roglic said, adding the Tour is “far from over”.

“We are good friends but we both want to win. He was just stronger and I was a bit disappointed to lose the stage.”

A cyclist wearing a white jersey throws his arms in the air while crossing the finish line of a stage on the Tour de France.
Pogacar, wearing the best young rider’s white jersey, crosses the finish line ahead of Roglic.(By Christophe Petit-Tesson/Pool via AP)

Monday is a rest day before five competitive stages including an individual time trial on Saturday, then the traditional procession into Paris on September 20.

Colombian riders started on Sunday ranked third to sixth overall behind the Slovenian duo, but all of them lost time on the 175km stage into the Jura mountains, and for two the challenge seemed over.

Bernal dropped off the lead group on the Grand Colombier climb and appeared to lose any chance of retaining the title as he dropped to 13th overall, eight minutes and 25 seconds off the yellow jersey.

Fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana started the day fifth but also dropped back on Grand Colombier and is ninth, five minutes, eight seconds off the lead.

Two more Colombian riders, Rigoberto Uran and Miguel Angel Lopez, managed to stay with the lead group and sit third and fourth in the overall standings.

Two cyclists, one in a white jersey ahead of one in yellow, straining as they ride.
There are five competitive stages left on the Tour.

Bernal said he had been feeling the effects of the first of the day’s three climbs, which had a gradient reaching 22 per cent in places.

“I was not going well from the first climb, to be honest, I was almost dropped there, I was suffering from the first climb,” he said in a statement from Ineos Grenadiers.

“It’s difficult to say how I felt, the feeling was that I was empty — I had no power. When the other riders did a big acceleration, I couldn’t go too hard to follow, but then I recovered really quickly, but my body couldn’t react as normal.”

As the long climb from the Rhone Valley to the finish began, Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team had five riders including the Slovenian in the peloton.

They worked well together on the climb to protect Roglic and force a pace that put pressure on his rivals.

Restrictions introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic were supposed to ensure fans were restricted to the flatter sections and foothills and weren’t allowed to throng the narrow approaches to the summit finish.

However, there were still some cheering and waving flags near the top.

AP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Soren Kragh Andersen breaks clear to win Tour de France stage 14, Primoz Roglic keeps the overall lead


Dane Soren Kragh Andersen has prevailed in a fast-changing finish to stage 14 at the Tour de France, after the lead was seized and lost in waves of attacks on the up-and-down roads of Lyon.

Each move on short, sharp climbs was quickly marked by sprint specialist Peter Sagan eyeing the win, as the yellow jersey of Primoz Roglic stayed safe and alert in the main pack.

Then the wide-open stage 14 was sealed by a decisive burst by Andersen, who broke clear with 3 kilometres to go as Sunweb’s tactics proved perfect on Saturday.

The rider from Denmark cruised to his biggest career win, smiling and sitting up in his saddle before crossing the finish line next to the River Rhone.

“I’m just amazed,” Andersen said.

“It’s always hard to say I am good enough before I have done it.”

Loading

Continuing a stellar Tour for Slovenian riders, Luka Mezgec crossed 15 seconds later to take the sprint for second, with Simon Consonni third.

Sagan finished only fourth on a stage he targeted to close the gap in the points classification to green jersey wearer Sam Bennett.

Overall leader Roglic had a drama-free, four-and-a-half hour ride to keep the yellow jersey he claimed last Sunday.

A cyclist wearing yellow rides around a corner with a big crowd watching at the Tour de France.
Race leader Primoz Roglic looked comfortable on the road and finished in the peloton to maintain a 44-second gap on the field.(AP: Laurent Cipriani)

The former ski jumper stayed 44 seconds ahead of his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, and 59 clear of Egan Bernal, the defending champion.

“We didn’t have to ride the whole day but our guys did the perfect job,” Roglic said of his Jumbo-Visma team.

“Luckily we had everything under control.”

Loading

The yellow jersey battle is sure to reignite on Sunday.

A 174.5 kilometre trek from Lyon ends with a gruelling ride up Grand Colombier in the Jura mountains suited to creating time gaps.

The Slovenia vs Colombia contest atop the general classification will play out over two category 1 summits before approaching an even tougher final climb that stretches for more than 17 kilometres.

Andersen’s win was another tactical victory for the Sunweb team, which has made Marc Hirschi of Switzerland a breakout star of the race.

Hirschi won stage 12 in a solo ride.

“When you see this young guy (Hirschi) doing these amazing things, of course I am also getting inspired,” Andersen said of his teammate.

Hirschi and another Sunweb rider, Tiesj Benoot, also led with surging bursts in the dynamic closing stages that helped set up Andersen’s decisive move.

Loading

Sagan, chasing an eighth green jersey title in the past nine Tours, worked hard to close down each move, and did not have the speed to hold second place in the final metres.

The flamboyant Slovakian let Bennett build a big lead this year but it was cut back on Saturday. Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team exerted pressure on the early climbs, and Bennett was dropped from the pack before halfway.

The stage started in Clermont-Ferrand, the home of Romain Bardet, but without the local favourite, who sustained a concussion in a crash on stage 13.

Bardet had a scan on Saturday that confirmed “a small haemorrhage” in his brain, he wrote on his Instagram page, adding he would take an indefinite period of rest.

Bardet, arguably France’s main contender for a first Tour victory in 35 years, was pulled out of the race late on Friday. He had completed the stage to Puy Mary though dropped from fourth overall to 11th.

AP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar are first and second overall after Tour de France stage 13 won by Daniel Martinez


The slow-burning fight for the Tour de France’s yellow jersey has erupted on a once-giant volcano, with race leader Primoz Roglic using its punishing slopes to grow his overall lead.

Glancing up the final climb, Roglic told himself: “Whoa, this will hurt.”

But it hurt even more for the Slovenian’s rivals.

“We were all on the limit,” he said after the stage.

One of stage 13’s big losers was Egan Bernal, last year’s champion from Colombia, who was unable to match Roglic’s pace on the arduous final ascent of the Puy Mary.

Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar cross the line at the finish of stage 13
Primoz Roglic (front) and Tadej Pogacar finished six minutes back on stage 13, but the pair are one and two in the overall standings.(AP/Pool: Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Bernal slipped from second to third in the overall standings and slumped exhausted across his handlebars at the top.

Loading

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

He trails Roglic by 44 seconds. The Tour rookie, who will celebrate his 22nd birthday the day after the race finishes and is also from Slovenia, might even have been in the yellow jersey by now had he not suffered a setback earlier in the Tour.

On stage 7, he tumbled out of the top 10, having lost valuable time in crosswinds. But Pogacar has grittily clawed his way back by winning stage 9 and now creating the possibility of an all-Slovenian battle for the podium’s top spots in Paris.

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

A cyclist in a pink shirt and helmet rides up a steep hill to the finish of a Tour de France stage.
Daniel Martinez rode clear of Germany’s Lennard Kamna near the finish to win stage 13 on top of the Puy Mary.(AP/Pool: Christine Poujoulat)

The intense stage, one of this race’s hardest with a no-respite in the rollercoaster succession of seven ascents of note, was won by Colombian Daniel Martinez.

He had been part of a breakaway of riders outside contention for the yellow jersey and left to chase stage victories.

Martinez, winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné race in August that served as a tune-up for the Tour, outsprinted German Lennard Kamna at the top of the Puy Mary climb.

The 191-kilometre trek through the hills and mountains of the Massif Central range was one of the toughest of this Tour, with the greatest total elevation gain of any stage — a whopping 4,400 metres of climbing in all.

The effort was written large on the face of Bernal and other riders as they slowly lost contact with Roglic on the Puy Mary, with gradients of 15 per cent.

Loading

“A hard day and a hard climb,” Roglic said. “You suffer a lot.”

But he made it look easy, showing how tough it will be to wrest the yellow jersey from him in the climactic final week.

At the start in the spa town of Chatel-Guyon, just 1 minute, 42 seconds separated Roglic and 10th-placed Spanish rider Mikel Landa — the smallest stage 13 gap between the top 10 of any Tour since World War II.

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

Martin out of top 10, Bardet, Mollema out of Tour

French riders Guillaume Martin and Romain Bardet, who had been third and fourth overall, respectively, tumbled out of the top 10 — and the race.

Bardet was hindered by a mid-stage crash that also took down Dutch rider Bauke Mollema, who had been 13th.

Loading

Bardet scraped himself off the tarmac and carried on. Mollema broke his left wrist and was forced to abandon his 10th Tour.

Bardet’s team said he sustained a concussion and pulled out of the race.

The riders will have no pause in the coming weekend of climbing, before the second and last rest day on Monday, when all racers and team staff will be tested again for COVID-19.

Saturday’s lumpy stage 14 with one mountain pass, multiple hills and a downhill finish to Lyon isn’t likely to shake up the top order.

Top contenders will be bracing for a very tough uphill finish on stage 15 on Sunday.

Sunday’s long and winding ascent of the Grand Colombier in the Jura mountains, one of five ranges scaled by this Tour, could again shake up rankings.

It is preceded by a rapid succession of two other tough climbs that will burn the riders’ legs before they battle on the steep slopes to the finish.

AP



Source link

Categories
Australian News

Caleb Ewan wins another Tour de France stage, Peter Sagan demoted for barging into sprint rival


Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan secured his second stage victory at this year’s Tour de France in a chaotic dash to the finish that saw Peter Sagan penalised for barging into Wout van Aert.

Sagan, squeezed up against barriers on the right-hand side of the finishing straight in Poitiers, made room for himself by leaning his left shoulder into the Belgian rider.

The irregular move cost Sagan his second place behind Ewan. The Slovakian was dropped back to 85th place.

Irish rider Sam Bennett, who extended his lead in the points classification, was bumped up to second, and van Aert to third.

Ewan’s second stage win of this year’s race, and his fifth overall, came when he skirted around the edge of Bennett, before throwing his bike forward to win by the narrowest of margins.

Loading

“It was very, very hectic — quite crazy,” said Ewan.

“In the end we’re all really in the heat of the moment and we don’t always think of safety.

Afterward, van Aert and Sagan had a sharp exchange of words.

“There wasn’t a gap, and if you use your elbows to open it up, I think it’s completely against the rules,” said van Aert, the only other rider besides Ewan to have won two stages so far on this year’s Tour.

“It’s already dangerous enough and I was really surprised and shocked at the moment that I felt something,” he said.

Earlier this season, van Aert’s teammate Dylan Groenewegen was involved in a crash at the Tour of Poland that left Fabio Jakobsen in a coma and shocked the cycling world.

“We accept the jury decision. We always aim to win, but in a respectable way, even when the adrenaline is high in a Tour sprint finish,” Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team said.

Peter Sagan, left in white, bumps into Wout van Aert, right, as spectators lean over the barrier
Peter Sagan (left) was judged to have impeded Wout Van Aert during the sprint.(Pool: Thibault Camus)

Sagan’s relegation cost him dearly in his hunt for the Tour’s green jersey, awarded to riders who collect the most points in sprints along the route and at finishes.

Sagan has made the green jersey his own in recent years, winning a record seven times in the previous eight Tours, but is now seeing Bennett get away from him.

Sagan only failed to win the green jersey in 2017, when he was thrown out of the race for being judged to block off British sprinter Mark Cavendish, causing the Manxman to crash heavily.

The Irishman is now 68 points clear, with few other opportunities for sprinters to shine before the final dash on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on September 20.

Sprinters to take a back seat as mountains loom ahead

The last week and a half of the Tour will see riders who are chasing the overall title fighting to dislodge Primoz Roglic.

He has a lead of 21 seconds over second-placed Egan Bernal, last year’s champion, and is 28 seconds ahead of third-placed French rider Guillaume Martin.

On Thursday, the remaining 161 riders will tackle the longest stage of this year’s route, a hilly 218-kilometre trek from Chauvigny to Sarran.

That will be followed on Friday by an even tougher stage with a sharp mountain-top finish that could prompt battles between the top contenders.

Given the challenges ahead, the pack largely took it easy on Wednesday on the 167.5km journey from Chatelaillon-Plage to Poitiers.

Matthieu Ladagnous, a 35-year-old French rider, punched on his pedals just moments after the stage start, immediately racing into the front.

But no-one joined him in the breakaway, leaving him to ride alone for more than three hours and over 120 kilometres before he was swallowed up by the pack with 43 kilometres to go to the finish.

ABC/wires



Source link