Tour de France
'Phenomenal Pogacar has changed cycling' - Wiggins
20/09/2020 AT 09:46

Yates retains the yellow jersey

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) came through Great Britain's 101st day in yellow to retain his three-second lead over Primoz Roglic with fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar a further four seconds back in third.

Here's what Lutsenko had to say: "It's probably the most important victory in my life - the Tour is the bigegst race of the year, so it makes me really happy. I've been working hard for this win and it's a stage that we targeted. This morning, we spoke on the bus about our plan today. I knew that I was able to get into the breakaway because I was 45 minutes down in the standings but there was still a lot of work to do. I set my own pace up the penultimate climb and I managed to ensure I was in the right place and held on for the win."

Alaphilippe leads peloton home

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kicks clear of the pack to finish one second ahead - and around 2'55" back on Lutsenko - as the pack comes home after that was a bit of a damp squib of a finish as far as the battle for yellow goes.

Third for van Avermaet

Neilson is powerless to take third place on his birthday as Greg van Avermaet zips clear on the home straight...

Victory for Lutsenko!

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) has the luxury of being able to zip up his jersey and savour the moment as he crosses the line to take a first Tour stage win. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) comes home for second place 55 seconds back after a ballsy attempt after being dropped early on the penultimate climb.

2km remaining: almost a minute

Jesus Herrada is now 55 seconds back so Alexey Lutsenko can breathe easy. The Kazakh is now in the barriers as he approaches the finish - not that there are any fans to be held back up here on Mont Aigoual.

4km remaining: GC anticlimax

Fair play to Lutsenko, who was always the favourite for today once that break was allowed to go. But I have to say the GC battle has been a disappointment. Ineos have taken control of the pace and everyone else was content to just follow. The tempo wasn't high enough to destroy anyone's chances, or isolate any big names - just to reel in an Aru suicide attack. And as things stand, Mitchelton-Scott have put a man on the front to monitor the situation.

8km remaining: Mont Aigoual

Alexey Lutsenko is onto the final climb after a moment of hesitation at a roundabout when he wanted to take a right, but then realised the route went straight on. He's now on the 8km climb to the line which is uncategorised with it's gentle average gradient of 4%. Behind, Tadej Pogacar has a mechanical and needs a bike change. Not ideal timing for the Slovenian, but he should be able to fight back without too much trouble.

10km remaining: Aru having a laugh?

Fabio Aru's cameo is over after the Italian is caught on the false flat ahead of the final climb to the line. Lutsenko still has 3'15" over the pack and the final climb is not steep enough to trouble him too much. He'll be our stage winner today for Astana.

13km remaining: Lutsenko takes KOM points

The Kazakh pockets 10pts over the top of this climb. He is the big favourite for the win, looking as strong as he does. Back with the pack, it looks like Sergio Higuita is on the back. Valentin Madouas has fought back after being tailed off. Earlier, another Groupama rider - David Gaudu - needed to wait for an age to get a spare wheel. Both Frenchman have been in the wars during the race.

15km remaining: second wind for Herrada

Jesus Herrada is burying himself in a bid to catch Lutsenko. As the road flattens ahead of the final rise to the summit, the Spaniard boshes a gel, tosses the packet on the side of the road with carefree abandon (tut tut) and then contunues his feverish pursuit. Lutsenko, by comparison, looks calm and composed. The gap between them is 25 seconds with Aru at 2'45" and the peloton, which has caught Cavagna, at 3'10". The likes of Landa, Yates, Roglic and Quintana are all sitting in behind the Ineos train, but it looks like there isn't going to be a big GC battle today.

17km remaining: Lutsenko solo

Powless perhaps showing his naivety there with those two attacks because he's unable to keep up with the Kazakh champion as Lutsenko rides clear with around 4km of the climb remaining. Herrada soon joins the American while van Avermaet is fading fast. Aru is 2'15" down on our lone leader with the peloton now 3'05" back. Ineos still set the tempo with none of the big GC guns firing just yet.

18km remaining: powerful Powless

The American kicks again and only Lutsenko can keep up with the man in pink. Roche was first to fade, while Herrada has now joined van Avermaet behind in pursuit. The pack is still 2'55" down with Aru around 50" clear. Yesterday's winner Wout van Aert is the latest rider to be shed by the bunch.

20km remaining: Aru attacks!

The first attack from the pack comes from the Italian Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates). Aru was 3'37" down in 30th place this morning and so he's not a danger man on GC. He's quickly past Boasson Hagen and has a small gap on the pack, which no longer includes the moustachioed Dylan Van Baarle, who has sat up for Ineos after putting in a big shift. And Herrada has also been dropped from the break, which is back to four.

21km remaining: five in the lead

Van Avermaet managed to join Powless, Roche and Lutsenko, with Herrada eventually bridging over after a lengthy pursuit. They still have 7km of this climb to go. Meanwhile, the Ineos-led peloton have swept up Oss from the break. Kenny Elissonde is off the back after a mechanical. The gap is 2'55" for the leaders.

22km remaining: Powless attacks

The first acceleration in the break comes from Neilson Powless. He takes Roche with him, and Lutsenko. Behind the other trio hesitate before van Avermaet kicks on and takes Herrada with him. Cavagna has no answer and is distanced.

25km remaining: Col de la Lusette

The break is now on the penultimate climb, which is 11.7km at 7.3%. Their gap is down to 2'40" and so van Avermaet's dreams of yellow have been extinguished. The Lusette is one of the hardest climbs in the Massif Cental, a narrow climb which twists through woodland and keeps dipping up and down, making it hard to get into a decent rhythm. There's also a bonus sprint up top with 8-6-4 seconds available for the first three.

Boasson Hagen and Oss are the first of the escapees to wilt.

Mont Aigoual: a literary giant

Today's finish is a Tour first on the climb made famous by Tim Krabbe's seminal novel 'The Rider' - a first-person account of an amateur race first published in 1978.

27km remaining: Roche doubles up

Nico Roche takes the 2pts over the summit again as the break crests the climb with their lead down to 2'55" over the Ineos-led pack.

29km remaining: Amador dropped

Costa Rica's Andrey Amador has been distanced. He put in a large pull for Ineos on this climb but is clearly still feeling the pinch after his numerous spills on the opening day of the race. So, Ineos down to five riders. The last thing they want to do is do all the riding and burn all their matches while giving their rivals Jumbo-Visma a free ride - like they did on the Col du Porte during the Daphine...

32km remaining: Sagan dropped

Peter Sagan is among the many riders tailed off from the pack, which is down to around 80 riders now it seems. Marc Hirschi is distanced, too. The young Swiss struggled yesterday as well. Sunweb's option today is, of course, Nico Roche, who is in the break. For Ineos, it's now six men on the front as Castroviejo joins the party. Ah, and there's the man in polka dots, Benoit Cosnefroy, who looks to have been dropped.

35km remaining: Col de Mourezes

The break is onto the second Cat.3 climb which is 6.1km at 4.8%. Behind the peloton is really giving it some welly with riders being dropped left, right and centre - including Ineos duo Pavel Sivakov and Luke Rowe. It's Ineos, incidentally, who are on the front with five riders: Van Baarle, Kwiatkowski, Carapaz, Bernal and Amador.

38km remaining: history repeating itself?

Greg van Avermaet has happy memories of opening week Tour stages ending on gentle climbs in the Massif Central: the Belgian won stage 5 in Le Lioran in 2016 to take the yellow jersey, which he held for three days. Will history repeat itself? Well, he'll have to get a wiggle on because the gap is down to four minutes and he trails Yates by 5'53" on the GC so not much time to play with if he wants to take the maillot jaune.

40km remaining: CRASH!

The helicopter cameraman picks up a crash in the middle of the peloton as a rider from Movistar or NTT loses his front wheel on a tight bend and skids to the ground. He's back up and on his way but he'll have a bit of road rash from that. Replays have confirmed that it was Enric Mas, the young Spaniard, who went down. But he's fine.

42km remaining: gruppetto has formed

This climb has seen a large group of riders tailed off including the green jersey of Sam Bennett and many of his fellow sprinters. On the front, it's Jumbo, Mitchelton and Ineos who are on the front as they come over the top. The lead of the eight escapees is down to 4'06".

A quick reminder that our eight-man break features: Nicolas Roche (Sunweb), Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana).

45km remaining: Roche takes the KOM points

Nico Roche leads the break over the summit to take the 2pts as the gap drops under five minutes for the first time in a while. That's because the pace has been increased behind as Jumbo-Visma come to the front on the climb with big Tony Martin tapping out tempo and Primoz Roglic looking hungry.

48km remaining: Cap de Coste

The break are about to hit the Cat.3 Cap de Coste climb, which is 2.1km long at an average gradient of 7.3%. Their lead is 5'20" on the pack. None of these riders is motivated by the KOM points so don't expect a fierce battle to cross the summit. The fight out there is for the stage - and these two softening climbs will tell us a lot regarding the break's chances of going the distance.

55km remaining: Bennett's cushion

Sam Bennett now has 129 points to Peter Sagan's 117 points in the green jersey classification, with Norway's Alexander Kristoff third on 93 points. The stuttering Slovakian showman had a fight on his hands this year if he wants an eighth jersey in nine years.

Here's how the sprint panned out...

60km remaining: CRASH!

That's very unlucky for Dayer Quintana of Arkea-Samsic... The Colombian is on the back of the peloton as the road narrows past a central reservation. Looking over his shoulder towards his team car, he hits a stray water bottle in the middle of the road and it sends him sprawling. He's back on his bike but has a nasty graze to his right thigh. Could have been worse for Nairo's younger brother, who is making his debut in the Tour.

61km remaining: Bennett extends lead

Roger Kluge (Lotto Soudal) zips clear of the pack a couple of kilometres ahead of the sprint to open up a good gap. It looks like this could be a tactical move to prevent other sprinters taking points from Caleb Ewan, which seems quite a negative spin. In any case, when the sprinters do partake, Ewan's nowhere to be seen, the Australian well off the pace as Sam Bennett is led out by Michael Morkov to bring the pack over in pole position. Behind him is Morkov and Coquard before Sagan, so the Irishman will extend his lead in the green jersey standings today.

65km remaining: Boasson Hagen wins sprint

Edwald Boasson Hagen had a little bit of competition from Daniel Oss in the intermediate sprint but he takes the maximum 20pts for NTT Cycling ahead of the Italian, a Bora-Hansgrohe teammate of Peter Sagan. Greg van Avermaet takes third place a fair distance behind. We now wait for the peloton to pass. There's 8pts available for the first man to cross from the peloton, which would be ninth place, so expect some action from Sagan and Bennett.

68km remaining: Alaphilippe on the back

It's strange seeing Julian Alaphilippe not in yellow. He lost the race lead yesterday after that water bottle gaffe with 17km remaining and you'd think it would be unlikely for him to move back onto the race summit today or even beyond today. For now, he's dropped back to pick up something form the Deceuninck-QuickStep car. He'd better be quick: he'll be needed to help lead out Sam Bennett soon in the intermediate sprint...

75km remaining: one thousand down...

Since the race started in Nice on Saturday, the riders have now completed 1,000 of the 3,484km in this year's Tour. Not bad going. On the road now, the break's lead is down to 5'30" as the lumps start to come ahead of the intermediate sprint and those climbs. Richie Porte is currently on the back of the peloton eating a snack. He's kept out of trouble so far and lies in 15th place just 13 seconds down. Could this be the Trek rider's year?

85km remaining: lunch

The peloton passes through the feedzone with a deficit of six minutes. As they pick up their lunch musettes I'm going to take the opportunity to nip out and pick up a bite myself. I'll be back ASAP. Until then, enjoy the Alex Virot podcast I shared below (believe me, it's a great tale) or watch some of Wiggo's analysis...

Wiggins - How Ineos use Rowe to master crosswinds and take back time

90km remaining: status quo continues

Still over six minutes for the eight-man break as Mitchelton-Scott and Ineos front the peloton ahead of the intermediate sprint, which comes in about 15km.

The remarkable tale of Alex Virot

The latest Re-Cycle podcast looks at the life and times of the legendary Tour de France radio pioneer Alex Virot, the first journalist to be killed in action covering the race when his motorbike plunged into a raving in 1957. I wrote this piece as a feature a few years ago but Graham Willgoss and the team have turned it into one of our retrospective podcasts...

100km remaining: Lutsenko the danger man?

The 27-year-old from Kazakhstan is probably the man to beat today. He may not have won a Tour stage before like GVA or EBH but he's a two-time winner of the Tour of Oman where he has made Green Mountain his own. The Astana rider also has a Vuelta stage to his name and probably edges it today given Roche's advancing years. That said, with Sam Bennett in green, what a day for the Irish it would be if his compatriot could add a stage win on Mont Aigoual...

105km remaining: Ineos primed

Bradley Wiggins feels that today's stage will see his former team come into their own - and has highlighted how they are already trying to muscle in by riding in second position on the front of the peloton. It's worth remembering that Egan Bernal, the defending champion, has avoided all the crashes so far and is currently in 5th place just 13 seconds in arrears.

110km remaining: two former stage winners

Of our eight escapees, two have already tasted success on the Tour: Boasson Hagen (three wins) and van Avermaet (two wins and a yellow jersey). Much of Roche's Tour career has been spent in the service of others - whether that's Chris Froome, Alberto Contador or Tom Dumoulin. The 36-year-old Irishman now has a chance to pick up a stage win himself - adding to the two Vuelta stage triumphs he has.

115km remaining: first since Zabel?

If Neilson Powless wins today's stage on his birthday he'll be the first to do so in the Tour since Erik Zabel back in 1995. The great Gino Bartali, incidentally, won Tour stages three times on his birthday...

With the gap now 6'20" then it looks like the American has a one-in-eight chance of picking up a birthday present he'll never forget today.

Harsh on Alaphilippe?

Some reaction from yesterday's main talking point...

Steels: 'There are some circumstances' to Alaphilippe penalty

130km remaining: six minutes

The gap balloons to six minutes for the eight escapees. Adam Yates doesn't seem too concerned - he's far back in the pack chatting with Ireland's Dan Martin while five of his teammates set tempo and keep a lid on things. Lovely scenery today - some astonishing chateaux it must be said, not to forget gorgeous gorges.

135km remaining: Bennett in green

Big day for Sam Bennett who wears the green jersey 31 years after the last Irishman to do so - Eurosport's own Sean Kelly. The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider is still without a win in the Tour but he's knocking on the door and now leads Peter Sagan by 9pts in the points classification. Today's not for him - although he will look to pick up some intermediate sprint points ahead of the hills.

145km remaining: Cosnefroy all smiles

The cameraman just lingered on the beaming face of Benoit Cosnefroy back in the peloton - and it's no wonder the Frenchman is all smiles: none of the escapees are a threat to his polka dot jersey today so he's assured of at least another couple of days in the jersey. The Ag2R-La Mondiale rider currently has 23pts in the standings with a maximum 14pts up for grabs today over the two Cat.3 peaks and Cat.1 climb. His closest rival is Michael Gogl of NTT who is on 12pts.

150km remaining: five minutes

The eight leaders now have eight minutes on the pack, which is all strung out under the tempo setting of Mitchelton-Scott. Every one is riding in team formation as it is with Ineos and Jumbo tucked in behind the team of race leader on the front.

Yates: "It's pretty special"

If you missed yesterday, Julian Alaphlilippe lost the maillot jaune to Adam Yates because he took on a water bottle from his cousin, a Deceuninck-QuickStep soigneur, inside the final 20km, which is not permitted. The Frenchman dropped 15 places to 16th after his 20-second penalty, meaning Yates becomes the latest British rider to don the Tour's yellow jersey. He could have done it four years ago but an inflatable banner knocked him off his bike in the finale, if you remember...

Eurosport's roving reporter Ashley House asked Adam Yates what it was like to wear yellow today. The Briton said: "It's pretty special. I came pretty close in 2016 so it's nice to be in yellow. Strange circumstances but I guess we'll take it! We're take it today and hopefully do it proud. It's nice to be in the lead but at the end of the day we're still here for stages."

So, Yates still playing down his chances...

160km remaining: Mitchelton-Scott come to the front

The Australian team of race leader Adam Yates have now come to the front to fulfil their role of defending the yellow jersey. That's because the break's lead is now four minutes putting Greg van Avermaet in the virtual yellow jersey. It's Sam Bewley who sets tempo - the big New Zealander making his debut in the Tour aged 33. Behind Mitchelton-Scott we have the Ineos Grenadiers team of Egan Bernal which is where Yates, incidentally, will be plying his trade next season. There's a cross tailwind at the moment which means the pace is high.

165km remaining: collective call of nature

And there's the unanimous sign that the break has been given permission to ride on: there's a huge go-slow in the pack as riders peel off to the side of the road to relieve themselves of second-hand bidon water. And the gap stretches above three minutes as a result...

170km remaining: birthday boy in break

Maybe the peloton got wind of the fact that it's Neilson Powless' 24th birthday today and have decided to cut the American and his fellow escapees some slack... because the gap is pushing two minutes now.

175km remaining: peloton eases up

Lotto Soudal and Ag2R-La Mondiale missed the move and they were among the riders trying to reel in this break, with Mitchelton-Scott also attentive given the threat (albeit distant) Greg van Avermaet poses to the yellow jersey of Adam Yates. But it appears that the eight leaders have now been given a bit of leeway as the road narrows on an uphill rise. The gap creeps up...

Confirmation of the composition of the group: Nicolas Roche (Sunweb), Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana).

180km remaining: no gifts from the peloton

The break still only has 15 seconds because the chase is quite frantic in the peloton. Some teams are clearly not happy about the composition of the move, even though the best placed rider - Van Avermaet - is over three minutes in arrears on GC. If this move does go the distance, you'd expect the Belgian to be up there contesting the win with Lutsenko, Herrada and Roche, given the challenging terrain at the end.

185km remaining: more riders join the break

A handful of other riders have joined the leaders including Alexey Lutsenko, Daniel Oss, Nielson Powless and Edvald Boasson Hagen. The gap is small but this is an eight-man move filled with some big hitters. It could go all the way if they're given some leeway from the pack.

188km remaining: Roche goes clear

Ireland's Nico Roche (Team Sunweb) was clearly keen to get away from the gun and he's opened up a small gap. He's soon joined by Remi Cavagna, Jesus Herrada and Greg van Avermaet. This is quite a quartet as the road heads uphill on an uncategorised rise towards Les Pommiers.

Roche, whose teammate Cees Bol came second yesterday behind Wout van Aert, was quite vocal on social media about the criticism levelled against the peloton for not contesting much of yesterday's stage. Here's the start of his thread...

191km remaining: they're off!

Christian Prudhomme waves the flag from the sun roof of his red Skoda - and this intriguing stage is underway. There's a long slog until the four climbs - but it's a windy day with the mythical mistral blowing quite a lot, which should spice things up.

Riders ready to start

It's another sunny day in France as the race prepares for its second summit finish with this 191km Stage 9 to Mont Aigoual. Here's what's on the menu for the riders today...

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Bonjour le Tour!

Welcome to Stage 6 of the Tour de France as Adam Yates begins the day in yellow after the eventual dramatics of yesterday's otherwise slightly drab transitional stage...

Missed the late drama on Stage 5? Check out yesterday's highlights below:

Highlights - Van Aert takes thrilling sprint but Alaphilippe penalty provides biggest drama

STAGE 5 FINALE

Yates in yellow!

We're hearing that Julian Alaphilippe was spotted taking on an illegal water bottle inside the final 20km and he has incurred a 20-second time penalty. He now drops to 16th place on GC with Adam Yates moving into the yellow jersey. Oh, the drama of the Tour - even on a day where not much else happened...

Bennett finally in green

By winning the intermediate sprint and coming third in the stage, Sam Bennett became the first Irishman in 31 years since Sean Kelly to don the green jersey. He's now on 123 points with Peter Sagan on 114.

No change in the overall standings

Julian Alaphilippe retains his four second lead over Adam Yates with Primoz Roglic in third at seven seconds.

Half a wheel for van Aert

Bol has the perfect lead out but Wout van Aert was too strong and came from behind to win it by half a wheel. Stuyven completed the top five ahead of Mezgec, Coquard, Ewan, Venturini and Hofstetter.

Van Aert at the finish: "It was a hectic finish. It was maybe the most easy stage I've done in a cycling race because there was no breakaway and the pace was not high. Everyone expected wind but it didn't come. I was happy to be given the chance to go for it. And if you have one shot and you can finish it off then it's even more sweet. I have my stage win now so from now on I will support my team even more than before."

Victory for van Aert! Bennett in green!

Cees Bol leads it out but the in-form Belgian powers past to make it two-from-two for Jumbo-Visma as behind Sam Bennett pips Sagan for third and the green jersey.

'Roglic looked invincible' – Wiggins on Jumbo-Visma domination

Tour de France
Tour de France 2020 Stage 20 - As it happened
19/09/2020 AT 16:46
Tour de France
Tour de France 2020 Stage 19 - As it happened
18/09/2020 AT 11:27