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A chaotic day at the Tour de France delivered major changes in the overall standings as several riders with GC hopes saw their dreams of the yellow jersey turn to dust on the cobbles.
The Jumbo-Visma pair of Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič ended up losing varying degrees of time to their main rival and race favorite Tadej Pogačar after the Dane was forced to make three bike changes, and Roglič crashed on the approach to sector 5.
Ben O’Connor saw his hopes of the podium evaporate, while the Ineos Grenadiers trio of Geraint Thomas, Dani Martinez and Adam Yates limited their losses.
Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) crashed out for the second year in a row.
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Pogačar was aggressive throughout the stage, sitting on the front on the first of 11 sectors. He made a huge attack on sector 3 alongside Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) to leave his remaining rivals behind and take a huge step towards winning his third straight title.
Simon Clarke won the stage from the break with Stuyven and Pogačar crossing the line 51 seconds back.
The chase group split and reformed several times over the final kilometers with a big bunch crossing the line 13 seconds down. The group included Vingegaard, who had overnight race leader Wout van Aert and several other teammates to thank for saving him.
Geraint Thomas, Nairo Quintana, Aleksandr Vlasov, Dani Martinez, Adam Yates, Romain Bardet, Enric Mas, Damiano Caruso, and Thibaut Pinot in the same time.
The biggest loser of the day was most certainly Roglič. The Slovenian crashed with Caleb Ewan due to a hay bale ending up in the road. Roglič was then caught and dropped by his teammates as they looked to limit Vingegaard’s losses. By the time he crossed the line Roglič had lost 2:08 on Pogačar and with it any hope of really winning the Tour de France. Roglič is now 2:36 off the yellow jersey.
Alexey Lutsenko, who made the top-10 last year, finished in the same group as Roglič at 2:59.
Ben O’Connor was one of the first GC riders to suffer. The Australian had a mechanical on one of the early sectors of cobbles but his team was reluctant or unable to get all its riders back to help last year’s fourth placed finisher. He eventually crossed the line 4:12 down on the winner. His hopes of the podium in Paris now rest on being allowed to gain huge time in a break.
In terms of the overall standings, van Aert remains in the yellow jersey with American rider Neilson Powless up to second. Pogačar dropped a place to fourth but has sent a huge message to his rivals. The UAE Team Emirates leader sits at 19 seconds.
Vingegaard is at 40 seconds off yellow.