Tour de France: Pogacar pounces for yellow as Teuns takes stage victory

By Sports Desk July 03, 2021

Tadej Pogacar grabbed the yellow jersey with a remarkable ride on stage eight of the Tour de France as pretenders to his crown floundered.

On the 150-kilometre stage from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand, won by Belgian Dylan Teuns, last year's champion Pogacar finished fourth and roared into first place in the general classification.

The 22-year-old Slovenian had trailed Mathieu van der Poel by three minutes and 43 seconds at the start of stage eight, but he now leads by 1min 48secs from Wout van Aert.

Van der Poel fell out of contention, trailing home 44th, 21:47 behind Teuns, to slide from first to 23rd overall, as the GC standings were given a vigorous shake-up.

The race turned as Van der Poel began to fall off the pace of a chasing group in the closing 35km and Van Aert initially followed, but Pogacar only grew in strength from that point.

Canadian Michael Woods had built a big lead as he reached the summit of the Col de Romme, over a minute clear of a chasing pack of four riders and three minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Pogacar.

Pogacar drew within 30 seconds of the lead with 15km remaining, passing Ion Izaguirre Insausti to leave Woods and Teuns as the only riders ahead of him, and soon only Teuns was denying him first place.

Teuns proved too strong, and Woods and Izaguirre Insausti edged ahead of Pogacar in the closing metres, but the defending champion had inflicted a brutal blow on a host of major rivals.

Pogacar said on Eurosport: "I just decided before the last three climbs and I said to my team-mates, 'Let's try to break the race', and we did it. Once I saw everyone was suffering... I just took off and tried to pace myself to the finish line and I'm pretty happy."

Pogacar was surprised there was little response from those with yellow jersey aspirations, who he claimed had tried and failed to break his challenge on the seventh stage, adding: "I thought they would show more today, but in the end I guess they were affected from yesterday and from today's cold and rain."

Teuns knew where Pogacar was in the closing kilometres and said his stage victory was a tribute to his late grandfather, touching his chest by his heart and point skywards.

He said: "We had the funeral just a few days before I had to go to the Tour so it was emotional for me, this last 10k."

Any hopes that Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic had of GC success were wiped out as all three finished over 30 minutes off the pace.

STAGE RESULT

1. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 3:54:41
2. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:44
3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:47
4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:49
5. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) +2:33

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 29:38:25
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +01:48
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +4:38

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 168
2. Michael Matthews (Team Bikeexchange) 113
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 103

King of the Mountains

1. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 23
2. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 12

What's next?

The 144.9-kilometre ride from Cluses to Tignes will be another stiff test for the riders, with a mountain finish ahead of Monday's first rest day. Five major climbs await, including the 'hors categorie' ascent of the Col du Pre at around halfway.

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