Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 25 November 2020

Primoz Roglic takes control in Tour de France as Ineos duo shine in Alpine break

Slovenian retains lead over UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best climber's polka dot jersey, during stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday. AP
Slovenia's Primoz Roglic, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, wearing the best climber's polka dot jersey, during stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday. AP

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic retained his lead over compatriot Tadej Pogacar atop the Tour de France standings after stage 18 as British outfit Ineos claimed a one-two finish on Thursday.

Bedevilled by problems that saw them withdraw their captain Egan Bernal on Wednesday, Michal Kwiatkowski won the stage as Ineos team-mate Richard Carapaz took the King of the Mountains jersey with the pair crossing the finish line three minutes ahead of the elite pack.

"I had the best legs ever, the way we rode together with Richard was just incredible," said Polish rider Kwiatkowski, a former world champion.

"When Egan left the race he was very sad but wished us well, and now we have this wonderful day," he said.

"That's the Tour de France," he beamed.

Giro d'Italia champion Carapaz has been a revelation over the three Alpine stages that culminated with the Ineos-led escape here as the Ecuadorian has relentlessly attacked, picking up climb points to take the polka dot jersey.

In the race for the overall standings only the stage 20 individual time trial presents a chance for the second-placed Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates to stage a coup.

Roglic leads Pogacar by 57 seconds with Friday's stage 19 and the culminating run up the Champs-Elysees on Sunday both set to be decided in a mass bunch sprint.

Roglic once again looked at ease during the run over three major mountains.

"I managed to relax, everything went fine, another good day for us," Roglic said, as he grows into the role of leader which seemed to weigh on him when he took the lead in the first week.

"I've been thinking about the time trial, I'll make the decision how I play it on the day," he said looking to Saturday's decider.

Updated: September 17, 2020 10:54 PM

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