Tadej Pogacar will head for a well-earned rest on Monday after finishing fifth and consolidating his overall lead on Stage 9 of the Tour de France at Chatel.
The UAE Team Emirates star and Jumbo-Visma’s Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard picked up three seconds from their rivals in the General Classification in the 183-kilometre mountain route on Sunday that was won by Bob Jungels of Luxembourg.
Spanish pair Jonathan Castroviejo and Carlos Verona took second and third respectively, edging out local rider Thibaut Pinot close to the finishing line.
Pogacar has now won two stages (sixth and seven) and retains the yellow jersey for a fourth successive day.
The Slovenian holds a 39-second lead over Vingegaard. The Britons Geraint Thomas held on to third place but now sits 1:17 back, with his Ineos teammate Adam Yates in fourth at 1:25 down. Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is in fifth, 1:38 back.
Jungels meanwhile held on to take the stage victory from the breakaway in the Alps as the main GC contenders mostly eyed each other on the uphill gradients without making any big attacks.
The Luxembourg rider made his move with around 60km to go on the Col de la Croix, and on the ensuing final climb of the day, the Pas de Morgins.
“It's hard to say what I feel right now,” a delighted Jungels said of his first stage win of the 2022 Tour. “I'm just overwhelmed. This is huge and this is what I came here for. I know this means a lot for the team.
“After a couple of years struggling, a very tough last year with surgeries – also to take the victory this way – it's my style of racing, my style of taking the victories.
“I'm super happy I saw the shape was getting better day by day, but to do something like this … I knew I had to try it from far because on the last climb it wasn't possible to ride away from the favourites. I gave it a try.
"Being in the mix and winning a stage is a big step and today I took all the risks I could and it happened. Thanks to my team and everyone who believed in me over the last years."
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot was on Jungels’ trail, but he had to eventually settle for a fourth-place finish, collared by Castroviejo and Verona close to the finishing line.
Stage 9 results – top 6
1. Bob Jungels (LUX) AG2R 04:46:39
2. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) IneosGrenadiers + 22
3. Carlos Verona (ESP) Movistar Team + 26
4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama-FDJ + 40
5. Tadej Pogacar (SLV) UAE Team Emirates + 49
6. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma - Same time
General classification – top 10
1. Tadej Pogacar (sloe) UAE Team Emirates 33 hrs 43 mins 44 secs
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma +39secs
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos Grenadiers +1min 17 secs
4. Adam Yates (GB) Ineos Grenadiers +1min 25 secs
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +1min 38 secs