Ben O'Connor solos to Mountain Top Victory as Pogacar retains Yellow
Australian Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) rode away from the breakaway to win stage 9 atop Tignes with a huge margin that catapulted him into second place overall. Behind Tadej Pogacar defended his Yellow Jersey against attacks from Ineos Grenadiers
Ben O'Connor stormed to a surprising stage win in bad weather on stage nine of the Tour de France.
The AG2R Citroën rider made it into the day's breakaway and dropped Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Higuta on the final climb to Tignes with 17km left to go, to win the stage 5 minutes ahead of any of the reminants of the breakaway.
Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) battled to second place on the stage, followed by Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) in third.
Ineos Grenadiers launched an assault for team leader Carapaz with Porte, Thomas and Castroviejo pulling away from the rest of the field dropping all of Tadej Pogacar UAE teammates.
Richard Carapaz launched an attack to take back time on his rivals and Pogacar followed.
Tadej Pogacar then counter attacked the dwindling main field near the summit of the final climb, extending his lead by another 32 seconds on Carapaz nearest rival for the yellow jersey.
As a result, Ben O'Connor moved up to second overall, around two minutes down on Pogacar and around 3:30 up on most of the other GC riders and is now a serious GC contender.
Behind, riders who were dropped fromed a groupetto and but struggled to make the time limit, reports are Demare, Guarnieri, Delaplace, De Bod, Dlamini, Vliegen, Coquard were over and are out of the race.
An emotional Green Jersey wearer Mark Cavendish made the time cut, as his Wolfpack teammates including Demare brought him home.
Ben O'Connor said after his stage victory "Just to be here in the first place is already a dream and to achieve this today is testament to everyone who put faith in me over the years – my fiancée, parents, best mates back in Australia, my friends in Andorra and Girona. It’s been a wild ride. It’s mind blowing. It's what you dream of. It's so fulfilling and there's so much joy. I managed to control myself now, compared to when I crossed the line. I’m just loving every moment. I’m just happy AG2R had so much faith in me and it’s just so clear how much happiness the win has brought to me and the team. It's special."
Tadej Pogacar said afterwards ""The weather today was really bad. Yesterday was bad but today was just really really worse, much worse than yesterday. Super cold, raining all day. A lot of guys suffered today in this weather and I'm happy to be over it and have the rest day tomorrow. It's going to be like this but I'm more worried about the hard stages that are coming. That's where I suffer the most and also the competition knows that. So, I try to enjoy these two days."
VIDEO: 2021 Tour de France Stage 9 Highlights
2021 Tour de France Stage 9 Top 10
1 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 04:26:43
2 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:05:07
3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 00:05:34
4 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:05:36
5 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 00:06:02
6 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:06:02
7 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:06:34
8 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 00:06:34
9 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:06:34
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 00:06:34
2021 Tour de France GC after stage 9
1 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 34:11:10
2 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 00:02:01
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 00:05:18
4 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 00:05:32
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:05:33
6 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:05:47
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:05:58
8 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 00:06:12
9 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:07:02
10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:07:22