Carlos Rodriguez wins maiden Tour de France stage to climb up to third overall
Carlos Rodriguez won his first career Tour de France stage to move up to third overall as Jonas Vingegaard fought to keep the yellow jersey out of the clutches of Tadej Pogacar in Morzine.
At the end of a dramatic 152km stage 14 from Annemasse that began with an almost half-hour delay following a huge crash in the peloton, Rodriguez rode away on the descent to the finish to take a second consecutive win for the Ineos Grenadiers, with Vingegaard and Pogacar locked together behind.
There was controversy at the top of the final climb, the Joux Plane, where a motorbike blocked Pogacar’s efforts to race away from Vingegaard and take vital bonus seconds at the top, but the Slovenian did grab a couple back by coming in second ahead of his rival.
Although he was beaten to the finish line, those bonus seconds on top of the mountain meant that Vingegaard picked up a second over Pogacar, his advantage in yellow now 10 seconds.
Pogacar had attacked with 3.7km of the final climb remaining, initially distancing Vingegaard but never able to get more than 20 metres clear.
The defending champion rode back up to him still with 1,700 metres to the summit and when Pogacar attacked again with 500 metres left, he had not noticed two motorbikes struggling to part the huge crowds and was forced to knock it back, allowing Vingegaard to get three more bonus seconds.
As the pair eyed each other Rodriguez, having been left around a minute behind following Pogacar’s acceleration, paced his way back on and then rode by to go clear on the descent.
“It’s incredible,” the Tour debutant said. “I have no words. Being here was a dream and getting a victory is incredible in the best race in the world. It was always something I focused on and to achieve now a victory I’m super happy…
“It was also a goal to gain some time and we accomplished it so I’m very happy on that side. I have to be happy and enjoy this victory but also think and recovery a little bit for tomorrow as that is going to be a big day also.”
Jai Hindley started the day in third place overall but was caught in that early crash and was dropped five kilometres from the top of the final climb.
The Australian came in one minute 46 seconds after Rodriguez took the win, losing third place to the 22-year-old Spaniard by one second.
However, it was not all good news for the Ineos Grenadiers, with Tom Pidcock distanced on the penultimate climb and slipping out of the top 10 overall.
Adam Yates is up to fourth as he stuck with his team-mate Pogacar, but his twin brother Simon dropped down to seventh after also losing contact on the penultimate climb.
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox