TDF Stage 9: Pogacar Wins GC Battle

Tadej Pogacar won his first Tour de France stage after his GC select group caught lone attacker Marc Hirschi, who soloed 90km, with just 2km to go

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TDF Stage 9: Pogacar Wins GC Battle

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Tadej Pogacar won his first Tour de France stage out of a 5-man breakaway after brave attacker Marc Hirschi who soloed 90km before the end got caught within 2km to go. He was the second Slovenian to win in Laruns in just as many finishes in the Pyrenean town, two years after Primoz Roglic who today (Sept 6) moved into the overall lead of the Tour de France for the first time in his career. Adam Yates lost time on the ascent of the Col de Marie-Blanque.

A peloton of 168 riders took to the start of stage 9 in Pau where a tribute was paid to former Team Sky/Ineos sport director Nicolas Portal. Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) launched a first attack right after Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) took one KOM point atop the côte d’Artiguelouve (km 9.5). All the way to the bottom of Col d’Hourcère, skirmishes took place but no breakaway was created while Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) was dropped and rode alone in front of the broom wagon before eventually calling it a day. Thibaut Pinot started the fight at the approach of the first cat. 1 climb but that was for his team-mates to try and win the stage.

Photo: Le Tour

Hirschi managed to get out of the front part of the peloton with 90km to go. A group was formed behind him on the ascent to col de la Hourcère with Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Omar Fraile (Astana), Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos), David Gaudu and Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Dani Martinez (EF) and Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe). After la Hourcère (cat. 1, km 69), Hirschi crested col du Soudet (km 78) with an advantage of 1’55″ over Gaudu while the yellow jersey group was led by Primoz Roglic’s team-mate Wout van Aert four minutes behind as Yates was left with no team-mates.

With 45km to go, a big group was reunited as all the chasers got reeled in but Hirschi was still 4’30″ ahead. He kept an advantage of 3’35″ at the bottom of the cat. 1 col de Marie-Blanque with 25km to go. Van Aert took another minute from his lead before giving way to Sepp Kuss.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) then attacked with less than 3km remaining on the climb and Adam Yates couldn’t hold the pace. The next rider to have a go was Egan Bernal (Ineos), followed by Roglic, Porte, Landa and Pogacar. Hirschi crested col de Marie-Blanque with 15″ lead over Roglic and Pogacar who took 5″ and 2″ bonus seconds respectively.

Hirschi rode very well on the downhill with his advantage increasing to 25″ but the flat section at the end was harder for him. GC heavyweights Roglic, Landa, Bernal and Pogacar caught him just after the 2km to go mark.

Hirschi then launched the sprint but Pogacar and Roglic passed him to cross the line in that order. It makes another 1-2 for Slovenia after stage 3 as they finished in the opposite order in Orcières-Merlette. Roglic takes over from Yates in the overall ranking.

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Tadej Pogačar: “It is incredible to have won at the end of such a hectic day. Firstly I thank the team for the excellent work done throughout the stage. I am very happy, in the final my goal was to recover as many seconds as possible in the general classification, also aiming for bonuses, but the concentration was then turned to the sprint: I don’t remember exactly how I won the sprint, I just thought about pushing as hard as possible. I arrive on the first rest day with a stage win, which is added to the one obtained in the first stage by my teammate Kristoff. I am happy with what we have done so far in this Tour, with only one off-day on the 7th stage”.

Marc Hirschi: As the race hit the foot slopes of the Col de Soudet the bunch completely exploded. Marc Hirschi danced on the pedals and made his way across to a group of riders that had gone clear. Not happy with the pace that was set, Hirschi continued to apply the pressure on the steep ramps and set off alone at the head of the race – beginning an incredible 90 kilometre long assault at the head of the race.

Utilising his climbing and descending skills, he built up a lead that reached a maximum of over four minutes as the bunch regrouped behind. “We knew that I had to focus on my plan as we couldn’t influence what the peloton did,” said Hirschi after his heroic efforts. “The only thing I could do was to focus on the plan and go as fast as possible to the finish. Today wasn’t like yesterday where they gave time to the breakaway so that’s a bit of a shame. I’m super happy about how my form is and how I’m going but now I’ve been really close to a win two times so I feel pretty sad that we didn’t win today. There are still two weeks to go so we’ll give it another go.”

Adam Yates: “The break didn’t go until the climb really and I did my best. I knew coming into the race that I wasn’t 100% and I gave everything I could to hang on. I think we can be proud of what we did. We’ll freshen up now on the rest day and go after some stages. The pace was a little bit faster [today]. Like I said, I did what I could, but there’s some guys in better condition than me, so it is what it is. It’s a big honour riding in yellow, it was good fun while it lasted”.

Photo: Pauline Ballett

“The next couple of days are flat, there might even be crosswinds so it could be pretty easy to lose time and then we’ll see what happens. I said from the very beginning that there’s a lot of stages in the last week that suit me quite well, so we’ll have a go and see what we can do.”

Matt White (Head Sports Director) Michelton Scott: “It was an incredibly hard first hour, no breaks got more than five seconds, so we went into the bottom of the category one climb with the whole bunch together after 50km of racing, and then it was pretty clear that Jumbo-Visma wanted to take the stage and take the jersey. There were breaks that went up the road but they were all over everything for the rest of the stage and had a clear objective to take the jersey today”.

“We came into this race with the objective to go hard in the first week, that turned into a yellow jersey, we kept it for a few days and now we can go back to the original plan and that’s to target some stages. We’ve got the rest day and a couple of easier days, the next real test for the GC guys doesn’t come until next Friday. There are some good stages for that intermediate rider on stage 12 and stage 14, but I think with Adam’s position there [on GC], it’s probably not going to be so viable until we get back into the mountains next weekend.”

Primoz Roglic “It was a fast and difficult stage. Everyone was extremely motivated to go for the yellow jersey. The guys did a great job all day long. It is a beautiful jersey to have. I feel very happy. Everyone dreams of having it in their hands. It also means appreciation to the whole team. We must continue to do our best. Hopefully I still have the jersey around my shoulders in Paris. After this tough stage we have deserved a rest day.”

Tom Dumoulin: “We worked hard to get the jersey. Today was a good time to do it. It was a big fight, but we showed how strong we are. I was already feeling better than yesterday. Moreover, I am happy to have had a part in the conquest of Primoz’s yellow. I am confident that we can hold this position.”

Nairo Quintana: “It was not an easy stage for me, I did not have a great feeling and what is more, it was very fast all day. I conceded eleven seconds compared to the other favorites and that’s a lesser evil. The Tour is still long way to go. Tomorrow comes the day of rest, I will go riding for an hour, an hour and a half, before the next stages of the plain, while continuing to look in front of me ”

Warren Barguil: “Being in the break today wasn’t necessarily the initial goal, but when the attack came, I went for it. It was indeed my role to be present in front at that moment. I had good feelings. The peloton, unfortunately, did not leave us much freedom. I took a break before the last pass, and that’s a shame because I would have liked to help Nairo more. He concedes eleven seconds on this ninth stage, but that’s nothing because the Tour is still long and stages even more difficult than these are looming in the days to come. Nairo is doing well, we have seen him. Each year, in addition, he finishes strong in the third week of the Tour. The last pass today was more punchy. I think it suited Nairo a little less well. Yesterday, Nairo indeed showed on a harder col that he was in great condition ”

Richie Porte: “I would have liked to hang on to those guys at the top, it was just a last couple hundred meters that I dropped them. I just don’t have that explosive power like they do. But Bauke (Mollema) and I did a good job to be in the second group. It was a good day, a hard day, and for me, it’s always nice to get through Stage 9 and go into the first rest day fit and healthy.”

Egan Bernal: “I think it was a good day again. It’s not just about the time you gain and the time you lost. In this part of the race it’s important the feeling you have on the bike. The feeling I had today was better than yesterday. I’m really happy for that and I enjoyed a lot the last climbs. Realistically on the short climbs you can’t make a big difference on a climb like this. It gives me a bit of confidence looking at the next part of the race. I know that I have lost time to Roglic and Pogacar again, but I should be patient, stay focused and try to go day by day. Because this is a race for two more weeks and it will be hard the last 10 stages.”

Guillaume Martin: “The results are very positive, especially since I do not intend to fight to win the Tour de France. It went really fast all day and I was careful with the pace. At the top of the Marie-Blanque pass, I didn’t miss much to rock with the best. To finish just 11 seconds behind riders of this class, with their credentials, is a very good performance.

The Tour is far from over. So far, it’s been successful for me and the dynamics are very good. These two weeks will have to hang on, a lot can still happen and we saw that there was no easy day. We will first rest, take stock of it cold and then approach the next week with just as much desire and motivation. ”

Enric Mas: “So, how would I sum up today’s race. Easy: full gas at the start, full gas at the finish, full gas in between (laughs). A really tough day, with that moisture in the air, wet, dangerous descents – I felt really cold into one of those downhill sections. I’m satisfied despite that, with today’s performance and this whole first stretch of the Tour. After the results and sensations we had collected through the ‘restart’ of the season, we have to feel satisfied about our current situation. If you compare it to what this team has always been, it’s not a superb result, but things are going right. We should theoretically get stronger through the remainder of the race – and I really hope that is the case.”

Miguel Angel Lopez: “The stage was really fast and hard and at the last climb I was a bit on the limit. But I was lucky to have Ion Izagirre next to me and together with Movistar we organized a good work in our group. So, I want to thank Ion for a great support today as he pushed hard in front of our group from the top of the climb to the finish line. I lost almost one minute, but in the same time it is just a minute in the general classification with still two weeks and many hard stages to go. It is nice to have tomorrow a rest day to recover a bit after nine tough days”.

Romain Bardet: “I was at the limit, but I had the legs to jostle with the best. I was not in the best time. I blame myself. At the finish, we were only down by 11 seconds. We worked well together. It would have been good for the morale bridge to the front group. Today was my best day of the week so I’m optimistic for the future.”

Peter Sagan: “I’ve tried to break away but I spent a lot of energy and I didn’t have much left to do more later on. So we rode quietly in the grupetto. Every day, I see how I wake up in the morning. We never know what can happen at the Tour. Sometimes we can lose big. Better think of the present but not of the future.”

Benoît Cosnefroy: “I’ve had a very intense week with two crashes and breakaways. I exit the Pyrénées with the polka dot jersey, I’m proud and happy to wear it. I’ve scored the points I was able to score. I quickly understood that it wouldn’t be possible to take more. The polka dot jersey is not a priority as the climbs in the Alps will be too hard for me. Firstly I’ll focus on the work rto be done for Romain [Bardet] who is going very well.”

Stage 9
1. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates 03:55:17
2. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma
3. Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb
4. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers
5. Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren
6. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 11
7. Guillaume Martin Cofidis
8. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale
9. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo
10. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling
11. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic
12. Damiano Caruso Bahrain-McLaren @ 54
13. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
14. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers
15. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott
16. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team
17. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma
18. Enric Mas Movistar Team
19. Ion Izagirre Astana Pro Team @ 01:14
20. Sergio Higuita EF Pro Cycling @ 03:12

30. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation @ 05:47
33. Thibaut Pinot Groupama-FDJ @ 09:28
45. Wout Van Aert Team Jumbo – Visma @ 10:23
53. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 12:04
57. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 12:04
68. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 19:49
125. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 29:27
160. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 29:27
164. Peter Sagan Point jersey Bora-Hansgrohe @ 29:27
DNF Fabio Aru UAE Team Emirates

1. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma 38:40:01
2. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers @ 21
3. Guillaume Martin Cofidis @ 28
4. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale @ 30
5. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic @ 32
6. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling @ 32
7. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates @ 44
8. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 01:02
9. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team @ 01:15
10. Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren @ 01:42
11. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo @ 01:53
12. Enric Mas Movistar Team @ 02:02
13. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 02:31
14. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma @ 03:22
15. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers @ 03:42
16. Damiano Caruso Bahrain-McLaren @ 03:42
17. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team @ 03:43
18. Emanuel Buchmann Bora-Hansgrohe @ 05:45
19. Sergio Higuita EF Pro Cycling @ 06:08
20. Esteban Chaves Mitchelton-Scott @ 12:13
21. Pierre Rolland B&B Hotels-Vital Concept @ 15:21
22. Warren Barguil Team Arkea-Samsic @ 18:26
23. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 20:04
24. Thibaut Pinot Groupama-FDJ @ 28:32

Full Result:


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