TOUR DE FRANCE

Roglic takes overall Tour de France lead, despite losing final sprint

Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar crosses the line first at the end of Sunday's ninth stage of the Tour de France.
Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar crosses the line first at the end of Sunday's ninth stage of the Tour de France. POOL/AFP

Tadej Pogacar has edged Slovenian compatriot Primoz Roglic in a desperate sprint to the line in Laruns at the end of the mountainous ninth stage of the Tour de France.

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Second place was enough to give Roglic the overall leader's yellow jersey after Briton Adam Yates was unable to keep up with the small breakaway group at the end of Sunday's 153km stage in the southern Pyrenees mountains.

Swiss rider Marc Hirschi, who set the pace for much of the day, finished third.

Marie-Blanque causes pain

Roglic will be happy with the stage-winners bonus, but will be concerned that defending champion, Egan Bernal of Colombia, stayed on his wheel on the way up to the mountain pass at Marie-Blanque, the last climb of the day, rated Category One, the second most difficult in cycling's five-level classification.

Pre-Tour favourite Roglic has been the form man this season and after Sunday's second place leads Bernal by 21 seconds.

Profile of the 9th stage of the Tour de France 2020, from Pau to Laruns.
Profile of the 9th stage of the Tour de France 2020, from Pau to Laruns. AFP

Nairo Quintana, the two French contenders Romain Bardet and Guillaume Martin, along with the overnight leader, Adam Yates, all lost time on the final effort, having earlier climbed to the Hourcère pass, also Category One.

Rest day, Covid test day

The riders and support staff will now be transferred to the Charente-Maritime department, 430 kms to the north-west. Monday is the first rest day of the 2020 Tour, but it will also be the first day of compulsory testing for Covid-19 of all members of each team. Any group, and that includes riders, cooks, mechanics and management, with two or more positive results will be automatically excluded from the rest of the race.

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