Puy Mary(France), Sep 12 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 in the ongoing Tour de France.
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 on Friday.
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 Sloven and four Colomb, 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 Criterium du Dauphine, 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.
( With inputs from IANS )
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