UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar grabs first stage win at Tour de France
Slovenian Tour debutant triumphant during stage nine
Slovenians took the laurels at the Tour de France on Sunday as UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar won a Pyrenean mountain slog and his compatriot Primoz Roglic grabbed the overall lead.
Overnight leader Adam Yates of Britain made a valiant effort to keep hold of the yellow jersey but fell away on the final climb as the gradient hit 12 per cent during stage nine.
Pogacar said that he remembered little of the frantic sprint that gave him a first Tour de France win as he pipped Roglic and Swiss rider Marc Hirschi, who had set the pace for much of the day, on the line.
"I wanted to gain as much time as possible," said Pogacar, who twice lost time earlier in the week, but is now within 44 seconds of the lead.
"Ten seconds bonus for the stage win in the sprint is great but I don't know what happened in it," he said after winning the stage with a time of 3:55:17.
The 21-year-old Pogacar had a message of consolation for his 30-year-old countryman Roglic of Jumbo Visma.
"He's won before and he'll win again. He and I can achieve great things for Slovenia," Pogacar said.
Pre-Tour favourite Roglic has been the form man this season and after Sunday's second place finish leads defending champion Ineos leader Egan Bernal by 21 seconds.
"Everbody dreams of wearing the yellow jersey one day in his life so first off I'm just happy how things are," said Vuelta a Espana champion Roglic.
"It's a fight for every second now and lots off things will happen to each of us on the road to Paris," he said.
When asked if he worried that Bernal was beathing down his neck after Jumbo put the hammer down for nine days, he shrugged.
"No-one could go as hard as Egan did there on the last climb," he said.
"We can enjoy a well deserved rest day now," he said.
Updated: September 6, 2020 09:46 PM