Egan Bernal’s defence of the Tour de France was once reduced to cinders Sunday as the Colombian suffered a meltdown on the first major mountain of the race, while the overall leader Primoz Roglic denied any suggestions he was once doping. With three massive mountains, the stage itself was once won by 21-year-old rookie Tadej Pogacar, but the extent of the 2019 champion’s astonishing collapse on the last climb is the story of the Tour so far. “I missing three years of my life on that climb, I gave it everything,” said Bernal. “But I just couldn’t retain up.”
Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic retained the overall lead after the concluding 17km ascent of the Grand Colombier, which he ascended with four teammates.
Ineos captain Bernal slipped to eight minutes and 25 seconds at the back of in the yellow jersey standings in 13th place.
Ineos, previously referred to as Sky, have won seven of the final eight Tours led by such luminaries as Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, and this jaw-dropping defeat marks something of a turning point for the British team.
Dutch team Jumbo led the peloton up the Grand Colombier’s demanding climb in their yellow and black outfits with a relentless high tempo, but Roglic brushed off any suspicions of doping from the media.
“At 6 a.m. this morning I had a total doping keep an eye on, and just had another one presently,” Roglic said, having a look flabbergasted when asked.
“There is nothing to hide from my side. You’ll definitely consider me,” Roglic added in his typical deadpan delivery.
Third on the day at the back of Australian Richie Porte, Roglic attacked first, but his 21-year old compatriot had the edge over the last 50m.
“Unfortunately I used to be a bit short on the final climb, but it was once a great day for us,” said the Jumbo leader, a former ski jumper who came to cycling late.
Roglic leads Pogacar by 40 seconds with six stages remaining, with Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran of Education First in third at 1min 34sec, while Miguel Angel Lopez and Adam Yates round out the top five.
Pogacar ‘in the real world’
Pogacar said he had bided his time and just kept up.
“I wish to be conservative, the very best scenario would have been to take the yellow jersey, but we are living in the real world.
“I have no idea what happened to Bernal, but Jumbo set a awful pace and a few riders paid for it,” the UAE leader explained.
Another casualty was once Nairo Quintana, who also dropped out of the running for the overall lead.
“It was once hot and all three climbs were truly tough,” Pogacar explained.
Asked how he felt approximately the Tour’s decisive penultimate stage 20 next Saturday, an individual time trial run over 30km of rolling terrain before a 6km climb up the Planche des Belles Filles, Pogacar said he could hardly wait.
“I did the recon of the Planche but that was once just a trial run. It is going to be different after three weeks’ racing. I’m truly having a look forward to it though.”
The race left Lyon with 157 riders, some of whom had their dreaded nasal swabs early in the day as the last Covid-19 testing round of this Tour started. It’s going to be concluded on the rest day on Monday.
The first ascent of the Montee de la Selle de Fromentel was once the steepest and Ineos rider Luke Rowe, no wilting violet, shook his head in disbelief and laughed all through one 18 percent section.
Sprinters and best friends, double stage winner Caleb Ewan and green jersey wearer Sam Bennett, kept every other company in a haggard struggle up the hill already several minutes adrift.
Regularly described as the Giant of the Jura, the Grand Colombier was once however dubbed “an excellent mountain” on account of the breadth of the Road offering such a lot room for manoeuvre.
But it proved the ruin of Ineos on Sunday as Bernal slipped off the back of the pack with 15km still to climb. Few had predicted on the other hand the extent of his colossal seven-minute loss over the rest of the class lesson.
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