• Tadej Pogacar looks back Primoz Roglic as they distance the other contenders for yellow on Stage 13 of the Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) kept the lead of the Tour de France, but cleared out a lot of his rivals on the Stage 13 summit finish to Le Puy Mary, with only his countryman and now main rival for yellow, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), able to match the race leader.
By
SBS Cycling Central

12 Sep 2020 - 3:37 AM 

It was expected to be a hard stage, with 191 kilometres of hard climbing coming ahead of the brutally steep slopes of the Pays de Peyrol. 

The break was allowed to ride away up the road to contest the stage win after a hard-fought series of attacks in the opening kilometres, but the general classification fight wasn't to heat up until the final two climbs.

An unfortunate crash with 82 kilometres remaining saw Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) abandon the race with a suspected broken wrist while sitting 13th overall. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) came down hard in the fall as well, looking like he may have hit his head in the crash.

Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers) forced the pace on the early slopes of the Col de Neronne, the penultimate climb of the stage, eliminating the riders who had sat third and fourth on the general classification prior to stage, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Bardet, from the front group. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) took over the pace-making, keeping Martin off the back of the group chasing solo.

Pogačar started the fireworks on the Pays de Peyrol, attacking the pace-setting of Jumbo-Visma and putting paid to the helpers of Roglič with his attack. Roglič was able to follow his Slovenian compatriot, with Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) the best of the rest, forging his way across the gap to the top two. 

Porte the best of the rest after Roglič and Pogačar on Stage 13
Richie Porte demonstrated his impressive 2020 Tour de France form as he beat home defending champion Egan Bernal atop Puy Mary finishing within striking distance of the charging Slovenian pair, Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar.

That was the way it stayed largely until the finish, with Roglič taking over the pace-making as they neared the finish line. Roglič and Pogačar pushed out their advantage in the last few hundred metres, finishing clear and cementing their status as the best climbers in the race. 

“The final climb, I did for the first time but it’s a nice one, it’s steep," said Roglič in his yellow jersey interview. "I could see it already, from the bottom because it’s right up. It was short but hard to come to the top."

Roglič reflected on the form of Pogačar who now shapes as his main rival after moving to second on the general classification, and was asked if he was surprised that it was his compatriot that loomed as the main threat.

"Yeah, I did before the start of the Tour," said Roglič. "He’s super strong, obviously, we did our nationals together and from the last year we saw that he can do big things in the Vuelta. Not really so big a surprise but really happy that we are two Slovenians at the top."

Pogačar leapt up 5 spots on the general classification to second overall, happy with his rise and his performance.

“Rocket start, it was really fast, it really, really hurt," said Pogačar. "It was a good job from the team they stayed with me all day. I felt good and I knew the climb. I tried to attack and I saw only Roglič could follow and I said ‘come on let’s go. We rode full gas and I think it was quite a good day.

"It’s been a really great day. I’m in white again, I’m really happy and to follow Roglič to go together on this climb it was a really great experience. It was similar to last year at the Vuelta, Stage 13 at Machucos, the feeling is great. I gained time on everyone except Roglič so I’m really happy."

Pogačar and Roglič essentially cooperated after the younger rider's initial surge, building their advantage on their rivals for the yellow jersey, but Pogačar said that the attacks to get the lead would continue.

“It’s a tough battle," said Pogačar, "On that last two kilometres, I don’t think we were friends, we just wanted to get to the top. For sure we will see more attacking more rivalry in the next week."

Porte was the next to finish, in the wake of the two Slovenians at 13 seconds behind. Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) surged late to finish on the same time as the Tasmanian, with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) a further three seconds in arrears.

Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) was 38 seconds behind Roglič with Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First), while the big losers of the day were French pair Bardet and Martin, who lost two and a half minutes and two minutes and 46 seconds respectively, falling to 11th and 12th on the general classification.

Roglič now holds a 44-second lead over Pogačar, with Bernal 59 seconds back. All the other contenders are over a minute behind, with Porte in ninth at two minutes and six seconds. 

The 2020 Tour de France continues with Stage 14, a 194-kilometre day in the mountains of the Massif Central, from Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon. Watch the race on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker, SBS HD and SBS On Demand with coverage starting from 8.30 AEST.