Primoz Roglic strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey with an emphatic climbing display on the double-digit ramp of the Pas de Peyrol to distance rival Egan Bernal after Dani Martinez won a thrilling Stage 13 from the break.
Slovenia’s Roglic paid back his Jumbo-Visma teammates for their indefatigable protection during the challenging stage in the Massif Central by riding clear of his key rival on the Tour’s first-ever summit finish on the Puy Mary.
The only rider who could keep up with Roglic’s stinging accelerations was his compatriot Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates, who finished in the yellow jersey’s wheel to rise five places to second in the general classification as the expense of Bernal.
Colombia’s Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) struggled on the decisive climb, the defending champion forced to dig deep to limit his losses as the Slovenian duo made light work of the highest pass in the Massif Central.
Some hefty pacing by Ineos ahead of the Puy Mary was unable to isolate Roglic, who rode in the coattails of teammates Sepp Kuss and Tom Dumoulin before launching his decisive attack. Bernal’s wobble saw the 23-year-old fall to almost a minute behind the trailblazing Roglic on GC. He also relinquished the white jersey to the impressive Tour debutant Pogacar, winner of Stage 9 in Laruns at the end of the opening week.
A bad day for the French saw local rider Romain Bardet (Ag2R-La Mondiale) suffer a nasty fall before both he and compatriot Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) plummeted out of the top 10. The standings are now dominated by two Slovenians and four Colombians, with Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling), Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) sitting behind compatriot Bernal.
The day belonged to another Colombian, EF Pro Cycling’s Martinez, who got the better of Bora-Hansgrohe’s German duo Lennard Kamna and Max Schachmann to win a captivating tussle as the end of the lumpy 191.5km stage.
Martinez, the recent winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné, was one of three EF Pro Cycling riders in a strong 17-man break which established a maximum lead of almost 11 minutes over the peloton as the race tackled a succession of seven categorised climbs in the volcanic region of the Auvergne.
After reeling in Schachmann on the final climb, Martinez exchanged a series of attacks with Kamna in the final kilometre as the road ramped up to a gradient of 15 per cent. And when Kamna launched the final sprint from behind, his fellow 24-year-old rival had enough zip in his legs to power past and take a maiden Grand Tour stage win – and a first ever for EF Pro Cycling in their current guise.
EF PRO CYCLING USE THEIR POWER IN NUMBERS
Featuring 4,400 metres of climbing and seven categorised climb, Stage 13 offered the toughest day thus far in the 107th edition of the Tour and the battle to get in the break was predictably ardent.
Five riders led the race through the city of Clermont-Ferrand ahead of the Cat.1 Col de Ceyssat, with local star Rémi Cavagna joined by compatriot Julian Alaphilippe (both Deceuninck-QuickStep) in the move alongside the polka dot jersey Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Simon Geschke (CCC) and Dan Martin (Israel Star Up Nation).
They were joined by Marc Soler (Movistar) on the climb after the Spaniard managed to bridge over from a large chase group of around 20 riders, with Cosnefroy moving in the opposite direction after a feisty start to the day.
Germany’s Geschke took the maximum 10-king of the mountain points over the summit ahead of Martin, with a chase group in pursuit being driven by Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) and the EF Pro Cycling trio of Martinez, Hugh Carthy and Neilson Powless.
The Jumbo-Visma team of the yellow jersey finally called a ceasefire in the main field on the descent, resulting in settling as a break of 17 riders finally came together on the front.
Alaphilippe and Cavagna were joined by fellow Frenchmen Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept), Romain Sicard (Total Direct Energie) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ); Germans Kämna and Schachmann (both Bora-Hansgrohe) joined compatriot Geschke; another Spaniard, David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), joined Soler; Russia’s Sivakov looked a strong foil for Ineos teammate Bernal, while Ireland’s Martin looked eager alongside Martinez, Britain’s Carthy and the American Powless – the only rider in the move without a pro win to his name.
Rolland led the break over the second climb, the Cat.3 Col de Guery, with the Jumbo-led peloton coming over five minutes in arrears, a gruppetto featuring many of the sprinters a further six minutes back.
Featuring some strong climbing talent yet no one within 18 minutes of the yellow jersey, the break’s chances of going the distance looked high, with the GC favourites behind prepared to concede the stage spoils and concentrate on their own battle for supremacy behind.
The time difference of 1’42” between the top 10 on GC represented the smallest gap at the start of the Tour’s thirteenth stage since the first post-War edition in 1947 – evidence of the tight nature and precarious nature of the 2020 edition.
Madouas took the points on the Cat.2 Montee de la Stele after riding clear with Carthy before dropping the Lancastrian before the summit. The Frenchman eventually sat up and waited for his fellow escapees.
On the long descent, a crash on a sweeping band saw GC riders Bardet, Quintana and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) hit the deck. Bardet looked dazed and unsteady on his legs but rejoined the peloton with Quintana, while Dutchman Mollema – thirteenth in the overnight standings – was forced to abandon.
A slowing of the pace in the wake of that incident saw the break extend its lead to over 10 minutes as Alaphilippe won the intermediate sprint in Lanobre ahead of the next climb.
With 40km remaining, the first round of the Bora-EF dual was played out on the Cat.3 Cote d’Anglards-de-Salers as an attack from Powless coaxed a counter from Schachmann and the two rode clear to build up a gap of almost a minute.
Alaphilippe and Soler lead the chase behind as Schachmann dropped Powless ahead of the penultimate climb, the Cat.2 Col de Neronne. With Powless swept up and Carthy distanced, EF passed the baton over to Martinez, who rode clear with Kamna and Soler in pursuit.
Soler soon felt the pinch of riding in Thursday’s break as Martinez was forced to lead the chase with Schachmann’s teammate Kamna sitting on his back wheel.
But the Colombian was rewarded for his patience and strength on the final climb of the Puy Mary-Pas de Peyrol, with the gritty Schachmann, eventually succumbing to fatigue inside the final two kilometres.
Kamna almost instantly tried to pile on the hurt but Martinez was able to match his rival before putting in a dig of his own on the gruelling gradient of what was effectively a long, steep home straight to the summit.
When Kamna launched his final sprint with 150 metres remaining, Martinez was slow to respond – but when he did, he made it count, the moustachioed Colombian surging past before making a heart-sign with his hands as he crossed the line for a maiden Tour stage win.
A defeated Kamna came home four seconds down with teammate Schachmann taking third place at 51 seconds before Frenchman Madouas led the remnants of the break over in dribs and drabs before the arrival of the GC favourites.
ROGLIC RAMPANT TURNS ON THE STYLE
The writing was already on the wall for Ineos when it became apparent well before the final climb that the British team had burned off their matches without setting fire to their rival’s hopes. And when Richard Carapaz struggled to continue pulling ahead of the final climb, only to see Dutchman Dumoulin and the American Kuss take on the mantle for Jumbo-Visma, Bernal must have felt the wind knocked out of him.
Roglic pulled the trigger with just over a kilometre remaining, riding clear with Pogacar as Bernal struggled to keep up with a chasing trio of Lopez, Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren).
Such was his display of dominance, Roglic was able to sweep up six of the initial escapees – including Alaphilippe and, perhaps symbolically, Ineos’ Sivakov – before powering to 12th place alongside Pogacar, some six minutes behind Martinez.
Porte led Landa and Lopez over some 13 seconds later, with Bernal almost caught by Uran and Britain’s Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) as he conceded 37 seconds to the yellow jersey.
Quintana battled back from his earlier crash to finish two seconds behind Bernal, but Bardet conceded 2’30” to the Slovenian duo to drop to 11th place, one place ahead of compatriot Martin.
The only consolation on a horrible day for the host nation was Cosnefroy retaining the polka dot jersey, with the spread of points over the day’s seven climbs evenly shared by the riders in the break.
Saturday’s 194km lumpy Stage 14 from Clermont-Ferrand to Lyon features five lower-category climbs on a day which should play into the hands of another break going the distance as Roglic’s rivals lick their wounds ahead of Sunday’s summit finish on the Grand Colombier.
Quote: Dani Martínez – EF Pro Cycling and stage 13 winner
“I am very, very happy. I love climbing in the mountains. I love the Alps but love climbing here as well. I feel I’ve done a really good job today. I’m really happy I’ve come back after the Dauphiné and feel the stage has gone incredibly well.
“It’s been a tough Tour for me. After the crash, I was struggling to find my best form but it was feeling really good psychologically and to win a stage, it’s really amazing and thanks to God I have this victory. We were 5km from the finish maybe 10km and [Maximilian] Schachmann was starting to flag a little bit so I thought I could probably challenge. I wasn’t sure if we were able to catch him but if I did my best right to the end then who knows what happens… At the moment the adrenaline is pumping but it does feel really amazing.”