Race report

GC showdown for stage honours after fiercely fought day in the Pyrenees

Tour de France

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

After yesterday’s opening foray into the Pyrenees and a day that suited the breakaway, today’s stage fitted the characteristics of the GC riders more, with three very challenging climbs packed into the closing 70 kilometres of racing. Nonetheless, it was a fierce start to the afternoon as lots of riders and teams attempted to make the breakaway, hoping a large group would go clear and hold on to fight for the stage win.

Mark Donovan and Joris Nieuwenhuis were active for the team, covering any large moves, before the elastic eventually snapped and a six rider group got a gap. With the peloton fanning across the road behind, no one was able to bridge across, despite a few efforts from other riders. The team’s focus remained on conserving as much energy as possible throughout the day and before reaching the three tough mountains in the finale. On the first ascent the pace in the peloton increased drastically and it became a race of attrition as the yellow jersey group diminished, with Donovan the last rider for the team in the peloton. With plenty of time to spare in regards to the time limit, the team found themselves in groups they were comfortable in, all making it across the line safely atop the Col du Portet, with Donovan leading the team home on the day.

“It was a good day,” explained Donovan at the finish. “Not too many people wanted to be in the break, it was more of a GC battle today. I just made sure I was well positioned coming into the first climb in case it kicked off again and a bigger group went, but it didn’t. I came over the Peyresourde with the front GC group and then took it easy after that; saving my legs for tomorrow and the other days to come.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “We were hoping for a bit more of a fight for the breakaway today and if it was a bigger group, then we wanted to get Mark into it. However, the peloton was content quite early to just let a six rider group go and control it for the GC guys to race the final. For us, it was then just about getting to the finish as efficient as possible and saving it for another chance.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 POGAČAR Tadej UAE-Team Emirates 5:03:31 120
2 VINGEGAARD Jonas Team Jumbo-Visma 0:03 50
3 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers 0:04 25
49 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 21:55 -
89 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 28:59 -
114 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 30:03 -
117 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 30:12 -
144 BOL Cees Team DSM 34:10 -