Advertisement

Turgis claims stage nine Tour win, Pogacar keeps lead

Tadej Pogacar was true to his swashbuckling style as he attacked defending champion Jonas Vingegaard relentlessly in a thrilling Tour de France ninth stage peppered with gravel road.

Anthony Turgis prevailed at the end of a gruelling 199-km ride with a superbly-timed sprint from the breakaway group to give France their third win of the edition on Sunday, but all eyes were on Pogacar and his rivals for most of the day.

The Slovenian, who retained the overall leader's yellow jersey, used several gravel sections to put pressure on Vingegaard, but the Dane was perfectly protected by his Visma-Lease a Bike teammate and no difference was made between the riders of the "Big Four".

Australia's Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) finished tenth amid the chasing pack.

Pogacar, who once again showed he could attack on any terrain, crossed the line in the main bunch with Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic and Vingegaard after the defending champion rode almost half of the stage on a teammate's bike following a puncture.

Going into Monday's first rest day, Pogacar leads Evenepoel by 33 seconds, Vingegaard by 1:15 and Roglic, who survived a big scare, by 1:36.

Roglic was distanced in the second of 14 gravel sections and the Visma-Lease a Bike team upped the pace to keep him at bay. Some huge work by his Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe teammates, however, helped the Slovenian bridge a 30-second gap.

Australian rider Michael Matthews of Team Jayco AlUla,
Australian rider Michael Matthews (left) of Team Jayco AlUla finished 10th on stage nine of the Tour (EPA PHOTO)

Vingegaard punctured in the fourth gravel section and swiftly swapped bikes with teammate Jan Tratnik, managing to keep his spot in the main bunch.

With about 80 km left, he had to dig deep again as Evenepoel attacked, followed by Pogacar. Vingegaard lost a few metres but quickly managed to get into his rival's wheel.

The trio caught the breakaway group but with the defending champion refusing to collaborate, the trio dropped back into the peloton and the big guns called a truce. There was more to come from Pogacar, though.

In the 11th gravel section, the UAE Emirates leader's brutal acceleration left everyone gasping for dirt-filled air and Vingegaard, as well as Evenepoel, saw him fade behind a cloud of dust.

Vingegaard's team-mate Matteo Jorgenson pulled Vingegaard back into Pogacar's wheel but Evenepoel and Roglic were missing.

Instead of collaborating with Pogacar, Jorgenson and Vingegaard opted to sit behind, forcing the 2020 and 2021 champion to lift his foot off the gas pedal, allowing Roglic and Evenepoel to rejoin.

In the front of the race, Belgian Jasper Stuyven made his move 11 km from the line but he was caught by his fellow breakaway riders with one km left, his face a mask of pain, dust and disbelief.

Coated with dirt, Turgis kept his cool in the final sprint to beat Britain's Tom Pidcock and Canadian Derek Gee to give his TotalEnergies team their first win on the Tour since 2017.

"It's incredible. I've been trying for years to get a big win. I had good sensations. I hung in there, was dropped a few times, it was a long day," said Turgis, who took his first victory since 2019.