Ben O’Connor received stage 9 of the Tour de France from a breakaway to maneuver as much as second total as Tadej Pogacar used a late assault to strengthen his already commanding benefit within the yellow jersey.
Racing in depressing situations, O’Connor raced away from fellow escapee Sergio Higuita nonetheless with 17km of the ultimate climb as much as Tignes to go on the finish of the 145km stage from Cluses, ultimately successful the day by greater than 5 minutes from Mattia Cattaneo.
The 25-year-old Australian, making his Tour debut, briefly threatened to take yellow from Pogacar given the breakaway’s benefit, however a late assault from the Slovenian as soon as once more underlined his clear standing because the dominant rider on this race heading into Monday’s relaxation day.
Pogacar took sixth place on the stage, 32 seconds forward of Richard Carapaz, and now leads total by two minutes and one second from O’Connor, with Rigoberto Uran the subsequent closest challenger at 5 minutes and 18 seconds down.
Donning yellow within the Tour comes with appreciable burdens – not less than an hour of additional media duties every day, to not point out the necessity to management the peloton and defend it on the street – and at one level it appeared Pogacar may need been completely satisfied handy it over, not less than briefly.
UAE Workforce Emirates, using on the entrance of a much-reduced group of favourites, allowed the hole to O’Connor – who started the day eight minutes and 13 seconds down in 14th, to develop on the ultimate climb, the margin hovering simply over eight minutes.
The Ineos Grenadiers, together with a revitalised Geraint Thomas after his struggles on Saturday, took up the chase to attempt to hold the strain on, however Carapaz had no response when Pogacar put in an assault two kilometres from the highest of the climb as he raced away to impose himself additional.
The end in Tignes – the city as a consequence of host the end of stage 19 two years in the past earlier than landslides blocked the street on the day Egan Bernal moved into yellow – put into focus the large names lacking from the day.
Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma squad had used the ski resort for his or her pre-Tour altitude camps, spending weeks right here within the build-up to the race, however he wouldn’t make it this far as he deserted the race earlier than the beginning of the stage.
The Slovenian, one of many main favourites for yellow, was a part of a bunch that completed 35 minutes down on Saturday because the influence of a stage three crash took their toll, and has opted to withdraw and attempt to get better in time for the Olympics on the finish of the month.
Mathieu Van Der Poel, whose six-day spell in yellow ended on Saturday, additionally made the identical determination as he introduced his Tour debut to an finish.
Thomas, who was alongside Roglic within the grupetto on Saturday to carry his personal hopes to an finish, admitted earlier than the stage started that he would possibly too want to think about an early exit.
However given the way in which the Welshman rode on Sunday, guiding Carapaz up the ultimate climb and serving to hold the warmth on Pogacar, it very a lot seems he nonetheless has a job to play for the Grenadiers.