Australian Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) produced a blistering ride to claim victory on stage 9 of the Tour de France from Cluses to Tignes on Monday morning (AEST), catapulting himself into podium contention.
The victory came after O’Connor rode the final climb of the day solo to win from the breakaway, leaving Italians Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) trailing in second and third.
Ben O’Connor crosses the line in Tignes to win stage 9.Credit:AP
Earlier, he also outrode Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo) on the Montée des Tignes.
O’Connor rode himself into the virtual yellow jersey until Ineos Grenadiers initiated an attack further down the mountain in an boost Richard Carapaz’s overall chances.
The Australian now sits second overall – 2:01 behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who himself broke away from the Ineos group on the final climb.
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), last year’s runner up, abandoned before started after suffering multiple bruises when he crashed in stage three.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin–Fenix), who wore the yellow jersey until Saturday, was also a non-starter as he switched his focus to the Olympics, where he will target a gold medal in mountain biking.
Roglic’s title hopes faded as he finished Saturday’s eighth stage more than 35 minutes behind Belgian Dylan Teuns.
The two-time Vuelta champion, who lost the Tour last year in the final time trial, had already been dropped by the overall contenders in the seventh stage on Friday.
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