Tour de France: O'Connor claims memorable stage win as Pogacar tightens yellow jersey grip

Reuters

Ben O'Connor clinched a memorable stage 10 win at the Tour de France on Sunday as Tadej Pogacar stretched his lead at the top of the General Classification.

The Australian finished more than five minutes ahead of Mattia Cattaneo after surging clear of Colombian duo Nairo Quintana and Sergio Higuita with around 17 kilometres left of the wet, mountainous route to Tignes.

O'Connor, who won his first Grand Tour stage at last year's Giro d'Italia, looked to be heading for the yellow jersey until Pogacar underlined just why he is now the favourite to defend his title.

The Slovenian shadowed a late attack from Richard Carapaz and had simply too much for the rest of his challengers as he powered through to take sixth place in the stage and strengthen his grip on the overall lead.

With pre-race favourite Primoz Roglic having withdrawn earlier on Sunday, Pogacar now looks to have the event entirely under his control. The day belonged to O'Connor, though, who made light of the grim weather and gruelling climbs to move second in the GC, just over two minutes behind the leader.

"It was always a dream [to win a stage]," he said via Eurosport. "Just to be here in the first place is the first dream. To achieve this today is testament to everyone who has put faith in me over the years.

"It's been a wild ride. It's mind-blowing."

After Roglic decided he was not fit to continue following a series of crashes, Mathieu van der Poel, who spent six days with the yellow jersey, also withdrew in order to rest before the Olympic Games.

"I'm going to take some time to recover from this week," he said. "I have some other goals. Due to corona, it wasn't possible for me to do the whole tour and then my at my top game in Tokyo.

"I think we've had an amazing week, and I'll be back next year to go to Paris."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Ben O'Connor (AG2R La Mondiale) 4:26:43
2. Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +5:07
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) +5:34
4. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +5:36
5. Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) +6:02

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 34:11:10
2. Ben O'Connor (AG2R La Mondiale) +2:01
3. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 168
2. Michael Matthews (Team Bikeexchange) 130
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) 121

King of the Mountains

1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea–Samsic) 50
2. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42
3. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 39

What's next?

After Monday's rest day, stage 10 takes in a sprinter-friendly 190.7km from Albertville to Valence on the banks of the Rhone.


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