Chris Froome was forced to abandon the Tour de France on Thursday as the four-time champion tested positive for COVID-19.

The British rider sat 26th overall after Wednesday's stage 17, having spent over 69 hours on the road for the Israel Premier-Tech team.

The 37-year-old achieved his best Tour stage result since 2018 when he finished third on stage 12 up the Alpe d'Huez.

After a huge crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine, Froome was left in intensive care with multiple serious injuries. He looked nailed on for his best general classification result in a Grand Tour since then as the riders edged closer to the finish in Paris this Sunday.

However, in a video message posted on his Twitter page, Froome said he had received "pretty disappointing news".

"A test has revealed that I've contracted COVID, so I'm not going to be taking the start today," he said.

"I'm really disappointed not to be able to roll into Paris and finish off this Tour de France. It's been an extremely special race for us as a team and me personally as well. I've been finding my legs again.

"I'm going to head home now, switch off for a few days, and refocus on being ready for the Vuelta a Espana later this season."

The Vuelta begins in the Netherlands on August 19, with a time-trial opener in Utrecht, before taking place in Spain from stage four onwards.

Tadej Pogacar claimed a thrilling win in stage 17 of the Tour de France following a remarkable battle in the Pyrenees with yellow jersey holder Jonas Vingegaard.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar claimed his third stage victory of this year's Tour, producing a decisive final kick to edge Jumbo-Visma rider Vingegaard on an enthralling and tortuous final climb.

Pogacar and Vingegaard somehow found the legs to produce a stunning finish on imposing gradients at the end of the 130-kilometre stage from Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes.

The Slovenian's victory owed much to the efforts of team-mate Brandon McNulty, who set a furious pace to help the trio drop the rest of the field, ensuring Pogacar was in a position to go for the win for a depleted UAE team.

UAE lost Rafal Majka to a muscle tear having already been robbed of the services of Marc Soler, who finished stage 16 outside the time limit. Soler had appeared to be struggling from the effects of the searing heat that has spread across Europe.

Despite having only four riders left in the peloton to start the stage, UAE blew the race open, enabling Pogacar to launch his first attack after reaching the summit of the penultimate climb first.

Yet he could not succeed in putting distance between himself and Vingegaard as the pair proved incredibly evenly matched.

Indeed, it initially appeared as if Vingegaard would claim the glory after McNulty, who won the day's combativity award, was dropped.

But Pogacar had a final burst left in the tank that allowed him to cross the line arms aloft, though he gained only four seconds on Vingegaard, whose lead is two minutes and 18 seconds in the general classification.

POGACAR OPTIMISTIC OVER GC HOPES

Despite his minimal gains in the GC, Pogacar retains high hopes he can overhaul Vingegaard with one mountain stage left. The Tour will effectively be decided on stage 20's time trial. Both Pogacar and Vingegaard are excellent time-triallers.

"The team rode today, we were only four, to take the stage win is incredible," Pogacar said. "We can be proud, we see tomorrow as another chance. Tomorrow is another day, which I'm looking forward to.

"I gave absolutely everything. I know that I need to win, there's no other way, I gave it all for the team. I was so happy.

"Brandon did an amazing job. He was so good today. Special mention goes to him.

"I am optimistic [about his GC hopes]. Tomorrow is a more hard day, we can try again tomorrow."

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 3:25:51
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma)
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +0:32
4. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:07
5. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) +2:34

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 67:53:54
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +2:18
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:56

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 416
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 202
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 196

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 64
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 52
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 46

Hugo Houle dedicated victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France to his late brother as Jonas Vingegaard kept a tight hold on the yellow jersey.

Canadian Houle lost brother Pierrik in December 2012 when he died in a hit-and-run crash while jogging in Sainte-Perpetue, Quebec.

Almost 10 years later, Houle pointed to the sky as he crossed the line alone after the 178.5-kilometre ride from Carcassonne to Foix, earning his first Grand Tour stage win.

"This one is for my brother, man," said an emotional Houle, moments later.

The riders were put to the test over the climbs of Port de Lers and Mur de Peguere in the second half of Tuesday's stage, as the race reached the Pyrenees after a rest day.

The three days in the mountains only get tougher from here, and Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar will be duking it out in the push for the peaks before they look to clinch victory in Paris on Sunday. Geraint Thomas remains third, with the top three starting the day precisely as they began it.

Pogacar and Vingegaard were playing cat and mouse on Port de Lers, with the man in yellow refusing to let his nearest rival make up any ground in the general classification, practically setting up camp on his back wheel.

Far away in the distance, Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) was almost riding a separate race, with France's Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) taking second place, over a minute down the road, and Houle's fellow Canadian and team-mate Michael Woods in third.

Matteo Jorgensen came off on a corner late on as his grip gave way, costing the American valuable seconds that pushed him out of contention to win the stage, eventually coming home fourth.

Brotherly love as Houle savours long-awaited win

Houle was close to tears as he took in the magnitude of his victory.

He said: "I never win a race, so I guess it's the right place to win my first race.

"When I attacked, it was basically to set the table for Michael Woods. When I saw they let me go, Mike made a gap, I just went full gas. At the end, I hung on. I was suffering so bad in the steep climbs.

"I made it, and it means a lot to me. I had one dream: to win the stage for my brother who died when I turned professional, and today that one is for him. I've worked for 10, 12 years, and today I got my win for him, so it's incredible. I'm just so happy."

STAGE RESULTS

1. Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) 4:23:47
2. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) +1:10
3. Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) +1:10
4. Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) +1:12
5. Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) +1:25

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 64:28:09
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:43

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 399
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 182
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 176

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 58
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Neilson Powless (EF Education–Easypost) 37

Jasper Philipsen secured his first Tour de France victory on stage 15 as race leader Jonas Vingegaard recovered from a crash but lost another Jumbo-Visma team-mate.

Primoz Roglic withdrew due to injury before the 202.5-kilometre ride – the second-longest of this year's Tour – between Rodez and Carcassonne on Sunday.

Steven Kruijswijk became the second Jumbo-Visma to abandon after crashing with 135km to race before Vingegaard came down, but was able to maintain a lead of two minutes and 22 seconds over defending champion Tadej Pogacar.

After the drama of crashes during the climbing section of the stage, Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Philipsen edged out green jersey holder Wout van Aert and Mads Pedersen to sprint to victory.

"It makes it super unbelievable," said Pedersen, who had previously finished in the top three eight times in Le Tour sprints without victory.

"I know what losing is like in the Tour de France. I was close many, many times. That it worked out today is incredible. I can't believe it.

"I felt Wout was coming close, but I also knew the finish line from last year. We got boxed in a little bit before the final corner and I knew it was not long anymore after the last corner.

"I knew I had to make up some positions. It was good that I could pass Mads. It's been a massive search for this victory.

"We've worked really hard for it. I'm super proud we can finally finish it off after a tough Tour. We had to wait till stage 15 with the team, but everyone still believed it was possible. I'm super happy."

Vingegaard's rapid recovery to protect yellow jersey

All may have looked lost when yellow jersey leader Vingegaard was involved in a crash that also included Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tiesj Benoot.

But the Dane (4:05) smashed the previous King of the Mountains record on Cote du Lac de Saint-Ferreol, held by Daryl Impey since 2016 (4:18), to maintain his lead over Pogacar and Geraint Thomas.

Yet with no Roglic or Kruijswijk, Le Tour may be blown wide open with a week remaining.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 4:27:27
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +0:00
3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) +0:00
4. Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) +0:00
5. Danny van Poppel (BORA–hansgrohe) +0:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 59:58:28
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:43

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 378
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 182
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 176

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 46
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Neilson Powless (EF Education–Easypost) 37

Primoz Roglic has withdrawn from the Tour de France due to injury, dealing a blow to Jumbo-Visma team-mate Jonas Vingegaard's hopes of winning the competition.

Roglic played an integral role as Vingegaard claimed the yellow jersey at stage 11, with Jumbo-Visma executing their game plan in perfect fashion to displace Tadej Pogacar.

Le Tour heads through Rodez and finishes in Carcassonne as part of stage 15 on Sunday, but Slovenian Roglic will play no further part in the event.

The 32-year-old, who is a three-time stage winner on Le Tour, is unable to continue after battling back problems following a fall that saw him collide with a hay bale at stage 5 between Lille and Arenberg.

"To allow my injuries to heal properly, we have decided that I won't start today [Stage 15]," said Roglic, who occupied 21st position in the standings.

"I'm proud of my contribution to the current standings and I trust that the team will realise our yellow and green [jersey] ambitions. Thanks to everybody for your great support."

Roglic will hope to recover for the upcoming Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 19, while Magnus Cort (EF Education–EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) have both also withdrawn from Le Tour due to COVID-19.

Jumbo-Visma team-mate Wout van Aert will remain in the race, though, and will aim to again support Vingegaard, who held a 2:22 second advantage over Pogacar in the general classification standings heading into stage 15.

Michael Matthews held off a challenge from Alberto Bettiol to win stage 14 of the Tour de France, while Jonas Vingegaard kept Tadej Pogacar's challenge for the yellow jersey at arm's length.

The 192.5km race from Saint-Etienne to Mende saw a leading group of Matthews, Luis Leon Sanchez and Felix Grossschartner pull away with a few kilometres remaining, only for the chasing group to reach them inside the final 3km.

Bettiol then produced an impressive effort to not only catch Matthews, but overtake him, though the Australian came back to ultimately take the victory, his first in the Tour de France in five years.

The Team BikeExchange–Jayco rider had already finished second twice in this year's tour at Longwy and Lausanne, but showed immense grit to climb to the win on Saturday, producing a second wind to fight off the challenge of Bettiol and go one better.

Matthews achieved an average speed of 45.6km/h in the last 52km, and said after his win: "“I think it's pretty much the story of my career. I've had so many rollercoasters up and down but my wife and my daughter kept believing in me. How many times have I been smashed down but I always get back up? 

"This was for my daughter today; she's four years old and I really just wanted to show her why I'm away all the time and what I do it for. And today was that day.

"Today was that day. I wanted to show everybody I'm not just a sprinter. I can ride like I rode today."

The battle for the yellow jersey saw Pogacar try to pull away from Vingegaard to make up some of the 2:22 second deficit on the General Classification leader, but the duo eventually finished with the same time, over 12 minutes behind Matthews.

The efforts of both against one another did see them pull away from Geraint Thomas, who remains in third place in the GC, though lost 17 seconds on the two ahead of him.

Mixed day for Aussie riders

It has been a bad time of late for Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan, with a nightmare Giro d'Italia earlier in the year and a Tour de France to so far forget, including a crash during Friday's stage 13 leaving him injured.

The Australian did not have quite the Saturday his compatriot Matthews enjoyed, but Ewan's mission was simply to make it through within the cut-off time, which he was able to do, albeit nearly 40 minutes after Matthews had sealed victory.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) 4:30:53
2. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education–Easypost) +0:15
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0:34
4. Marc Soler (UAE–Team Emirates) +0:50
5. Patrick Konrad (BORA–hansgrohe) +0:58

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 55:31:01
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:43

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 333
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 164
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 155

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 46
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Neilson Powless (EF Education–Easypost) 37

Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar eased off in their tussle for the yellow jersey on Friday, as Mads Pedersen won stage 13 of the Tour de France in style.

Having been involved in an early breakaway lodged by Filippo Ganna, Pedersen stuck at the front of the race on the 193 kilometre route from Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Saint-Etienne.

And he made the vital move at just the right time, attacking with 12km remaining, splitting the six-man breakaway in two and leaving him up against Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) and Hugo Houle (Israel–Premier Tech).

Trek–Segafredo rider Pedersen attacked just as the peloton stopped racing further back, with Jumbo-Visma – protecting the yellow jersey of Vingegaard and the green jersey of Wout van Aert – INEOS Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates comfortable enough to take a steady approach after successive days of hard riding in the mountains.

Having been denied victory in his native Denmark in the opening three stages, Pedersen always looked good to go on and end his wait for a Grand Tour stage win, and he did so in style, executing another perfectly timed effort during the final sprint to ensure he was able to celebrate while he crossed the line.

"It's incredible to finally take a win," the 26-year-old said. "I knew the shape was really good and I definitely missed out on the opportunities in the first week.

"In the last two weeks of this race there's not a lot of chances for a guy like me.

"So to take the chance today and get the reward is really nice, not only for me but for the whole team. We came here with riders only for stages and now we have one, so it's such a relief."

Van Aert came over in seventh, easily winning a bunch sprint at the front of the GC group, to further consolidate his grip on the green jersey.

Wright idea, but not enough power for Fred

It was a spirited ride from 23-year-old Wright, who kept on Pedersen's wheel right until the end.

"I was trying to get Mads to do some of the work at the end, but it's hard man, I just didn't quite have it over the top of that kicker," Wright told ITV Sport. "All I could do was hug the wheel, I was surprised I didn't get dropped to be honest."

As for his tactics in the sprint, Wright added: "I don't know, to be honest, I was just going to try and surprise him."

Wright hit a top speed of 59km/h in the final 1,000 metres, whereas Pedersen clocked in at 59.2km/h.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Mads Pedersen (Trek–Segafredo) 4:13:03
2. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) same time
3. Hugo Houle (Israel–Premier Tech) same time
4. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +0:30
5. Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) +0:30

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 50:47:34
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:26

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 333
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 164
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 155

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 43
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 36

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has "no regrets" after he fought to finish third on stage 12 up the Alpe d'Huez.

The stage was won by fellow Brit Tom Pidcock on his Tour de France debut, but Froome's third-place finish was a brilliant side story in another engaging day.

After a huge crash at the 2019 Criterium du Dauphine, Froome was left in intensive care with multiple serious injuries.

The incident threatened to end his career, but after a long recovery Froome has now achieved his best Tour de France stage finish since 2018.

Having been part of a five-man breakaway over the penultimate ascent, Froome managed to stick with the lead group right the way up the famous final climb of Thursday's stage.

Despite finishing over two minutes behind Pidcock, the Israel-Premier Tech rider was understandably proud of his performance, and told reporters: "No regrets today.

"Naturally, I would have loved to have put my hands up and tried to win the stage.

"But I gave it absolutely everything I had today and I don't have any regrets.

"I think where I've come from the last three years, battling back after my accident, to finish third on one of the hardest stages on the tour, I can be really happy with that.

"I'm going to keep pushing, I don't know where my limits are. I'm going to keep trying to improve and hopefully get back to winning ways again."

Tom Pidcock marked his Tour de France debut with a stunning ride on stage 12, while race leader Jonas Vingegaard held off Tadej Pogacar.

Up the famous Alpe d'Huez, on Bastille Day, Olympic gold medallist Pidcock stormed to a remarkable, record-setting triumph – his first Grand Tour stage win.

Having attacked with 10 kilometres of the climb remaining, approaching the culmination of a 165.5km ride on Thursday, the 22-year-old Yorkshireman saw off Louis Meintjes to claim a remarkable triumph.

In the process, Pidcock – who was part of a five-man breakaway that took a six-minute time gap to the foot of the final ascent – became the youngest stage winner up the Alpe d'Huez in Le Tour history, breaking the record held by Lucho Herrera since 1984.

Yet Pidcock's tale was not the only incredible story of a quite sensational stage, with four-time champion Chris Froome claiming third, having planted himself in the breakaway group. While the yellow jersey is far out of the 37-year-old's reach, his performance echoed the form he was able to show in the years prior to his serious crash in 2019.

Behind the lead group, the fascinating general classification tussle between new leader Vingegaard and two-time defending champion Pogacar unfolded, hinting at the drama that is sure to come over the coming stages.

Pogacar twice attacked late on, yet Jumbo-Visma's Vingegaard kept pace.

The GC rivals pushed on for a sprint finish, with Pogacar nosing ahead to claim fifth place, though he was unable to damage Vingegaard, while Pidcock's INEOS Grenadier's team-mate Geraint Thomas, who conquered the mountain while wearing yellow in 2018, put himself into the top three in the overall standings.

But the day belonged to Pidcock, who after ploughing on to victory through thousands of vociferous spectators, said: "That was unbelievable, one of the craziest experiences ever. I can hardly hear anything, I've probably got hearing damage!

"That was ridiculous, at many points I thought I was going to get taken out."

Team GB's golden boy a speed demon

Pidcock is a star on the mountain bike, and those technical skills came in handy on the descent of the Col du Galibie, which preceded the climb up Alpe d'Huez. He clocked a top speed of 100km/h on the way down, while he averaged 19.7km/h on his way up to the summit finish.

"That is a record, I've never been over 100k before. It helps when there's a race to go for, doesn't it?" he said. 

"I'm lucky that I can descend or I wouldn't have won today. I don't think there was any way of me getting away at the start of the stage but I knew if the break was close enough at the top, I could go across on the descent because it was pretty twisty. I'm lucky Froomey was in front, we worked well together."

Froome, who won his first Tour de France when Pidcock was just 13, said: "He was flying down the descents today. His bike handling probably came in handy, there were a few times where I held back a bit because I was definitely at the limit."

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:55:24
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) +0:48
3. Chris Froome (Israel–Premier Tech) +2:06
4. Neilson Powless (EF Education–EasyPost) +2:29
5. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +3:23

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 46:28:46
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:26

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 313
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 159
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 155

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 43
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 36

Jonas Vingegaard's attack paid off in style as the Dane took the lead in the Tour de France, severely denting Tadej Pogacar's hopes.

Wednesday's 152kilometre route through the Alps looked set to be crucial in the general classification standings, though few would have predicted this outcome up the Col du Granon.

Pogacar seemed in complete control of the GC and was expected to maintain his advantage, such is his proficiency up the slopes.

Yet led by Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert, Jumbo-Visma attacked early and lured Pogacar and his fellow UAE Team Emirates riders into responding.

Those early moves seemed to have backfired, with Pogacar and team-mate Rafal Majka looking strong heading onto the final climb, but it all fell apart for the two-time reigning champion when Vingegaard sensed a weakness and lodged a brilliantly timed attack 5km out from the finish, leaving the yellow jersey in his wake.

Geraint Thomas soon followed suit, making his own dent in the GC standings, as for the first time in his career Pogacar showed real vulnerability. 

While Pogacar floundered, Vingegaard wrapped up a sensational ride by overtaking Romain Bardet, who is up to second in the GC, and Nairo Quintana to seal his maiden Grand Tour stage triumph.

Thomas pushed over in fourth, with David Gaudu and Adam Yates getting up to the summit before Pogacar – his yellow jersey unzipped and flapping – limped across the line, close to three minutes behind Vingegaard.

"It's really incredible, it's hard for me to put words on," said Vingegaard, whose lead over Pogacar in the GC standings is well over two minutes. "This is what I dreamt of, always, a stage in the Tour. Now the yellow jersey, incredible.

"We made the plan from the start of the day, you can see what it was, we wanted to make it a super hard race in my favour, the favour of Primoz. I took a lot of time today, but I'd never have done that without my team-mates, they were all incredibly strong today.

"On the last climb I was thinking if I don't try, I'm not going to win. Second place is a nice result, but I had this last year, now I want to try to go for the victory." 

Van der Poel calls it quits

One of the big names at this year's tour, Mathieu van der Poel, has failed to really get going and he called it a day on stage 11, abandoning the race. It has been a frustrating stint for the Dutchman, who impressed on his Tour de France debut last year. He was dropped on the Lacets de Montvernier, after initially getting involved in the early breakaway.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 4:18:02
2. Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea–Samsic) +0:59
3. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +1:10
4. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:38
5. David Gaudu (Groupama–FDJ) +2:04

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 41:29:59
2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +2:16
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 304
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 155
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 148

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 43
2. Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) 35
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 30

An exciting finish to Stage 10 of the Tour de France saw Magnus Cort finish ahead of Nick Schultz by a matter of inches in Megeve.

With under three kilometres left, Schultz and Matteo Jorgenson caught up with Luis Leon Sanchez at the front, only for the chasing pack, including Cort, to also reach them in the closing stages.

After a few attempted to break away, it was Schultz and Cort who ultimately did so, with the victor uncertain as they both crossed the line.

Replays showed that Cort narrowly took it, and the Dane said following the race after his second Tour de France victory that it was the lure of another stage win on the tour that motivated him to push harder.

"Unbelievable," the EF Education-EasyPost rider said. "I was on the limit for so long on this climb, and luckily I had [Alberto] Bettiol up front and he was really strong, which meant I could sit on, and save some energy.

"I was losing the group a couple of times in the last few kilometres. Suddenly it was all back together and I was able to take it in the sprint.

"[The win] was huge. For me, my type of rider, it can't be any bigger than this... In my first tour I won a stage and I've been a few times without. It's unbelievable to do it again.

"When we entered the runway and I could see things coming back together, I could see the podium and the logo of the Tour de France, I thought 'I have to take this, no matter the price.'"

The 148.5-kilometre stage was always likely to be dominated by a breakaway of some sort, with 25 riders doing so, including Lennard Kamna who moved into the virtual yellow jersey for a brief period.

While Tadej Pogacar lost time in the overall classification, he remained ahead atop the GC by 11 seconds, having understandably ridden a conservative race after losing UAE-Emirates Team member George Bennett for the rest of the tour due to COVID-19.

Protest almost halts Tour de France in its tracks  

The race was briefly halted with 36km still to go as protestors demonstrated in the middle of the road. The leader at the time, Bettiol, was given a new start when it resumed, with the 24 chasers and then the peloton following.

It was not the first confusing moment of the day, with the race's start also delayed due to Cofidis rider Benjamin Thomas having an issue with his shoes.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) 3:18:50
2. Nick Schultz (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious) +0:07
4. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) +0:08
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:10

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 37:11:28
2. Lennard Kamna (BORA-Hansgrohe) +0:11
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 284
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 149
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 139

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 19
2. Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroen) 18
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 14

An "overwhelmed" Bob Jungels expressed his delight after clinching the first Tour de France stage win of his career with a brilliant solo effort over the mountains to Chatel.

Having made his move on the penultimate climb of stage nine, the Luxembourger broke clear and made his advantage count after leading for over 60 kilometres on Sunday.

Home favourite Thibaut Pinot attempted to close the gap but ultimately fell to fourth after attacking too late in the day, as Spanish duo Jonathan Castroviejo and Carlos Verona came in second and third.

Tadej Pogacar finished fifth to retain the yellow jersey at the end of a terrific week for the reigning champion, who earlier claimed back-to-back victories over stages six and seven to take control of Le Tour.

But Sunday belonged to AG2R Citroen rider Jungels, who was left stunned by his incredible triumph, declaring: "I am just overwhelmed, to be honest.

"This is huge. This is what I came here for. I know this means a lot for the team.

"After a couple of years struggling and a very tough year last year, to take the victory this way, it's my style of racing, so I'm just super happy.

"I saw that my shape was getting better day by day. To do something like this, I knew I had to do it from quite far, because with the last climb I would not have been able to ride away from the favourites.

"Being in the mix and winning a stage is a big step, and today I took all the risks I could and it happened. Thanks to my team and everyone who believed in me over the last years."

Victory marked a significant comeback for Jungels, who missed out on last year's Tour and the Tokyo Olympics after being diagnosed with endofibrosis, a narrowing of the arteries. He was also a doubt for this year's race after testing positive for COVID-19 in the build up.

Welcome to the Jungels: Brilliant Bob secures maiden Tour triumph 

Jungels' triumph represented his first at the Tour de France and just his second at a Grand Tour after he won over stage 15 of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old also became the first rider from Luxembourg to win a Tour de France stage since Andy Schleck triumphed over stage 18 in 2011.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroen) 4:46:39
2. Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:22
3. Carlos Verons (Movistar) +0:26
4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0:40
5. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:49

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 33:43:44
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39
3. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:17

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 284
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 149
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 139

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 19
2. Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroen) 18
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 14

Cofidis star rider Guillaume Martin had to abandon the Tour de France before Sunday's ninth stage of the race after a positive COVID-19 test.

The 29-year-old Frenchman had been hoping to improve on last year's overall eighth-placed finish.

He sat 14th overall, three minutes and two seconds behind yellow jersey holder Tadej Pogacar, after Saturday's stage from Dole to Lausanne, but tests since then have confirmed he has the coronavirus.

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, said Martin had been withdrawn "due to the application of the COVID-19 health protocol". There have been several such cases during this year's race, prompting the UCI to urge all participants to wear masks when not racing while also encouraging social distancing.

Wout van Aert tightened his hold on the green jersey as he won stage eight of the Tour de France after a dramatic final sprint in Lausanne.

The Dutchman claimed his second stage victory of this year's tour, holding off Michael Matthews and overall race leader Tadej Pogacar to add to his triumph in Calais on Tuesday.

The Jumbo-Visma rider also extended his lead at the top of the points classification, moving 115 points clear of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Fabio Jakobsen.

There was drama after just nine kilometres from the start in Dole, with Kevin Vermaerke forced to pull after falling in a crash that also affected Pogacar and 2018 yellow jersey winner Geraint Thomas.

Pogacar – winner of stages six and seven – recovered and eventually put himself in contention heading into the final sprint.

However, the two-time champion appeared to hesitate at the vital moment after Matthews launched the surge, but Van Aert timed his move to perfection to claim victory.

"Today was a big chance to take a lot of points," Van Aert said. "I'm really glad my team put everything in it to chase down the breakaway.

"It was a really tough climb. Everything going uphill was really steep, so I had to fight to stay in the wheel of Pogacar and his team-mates.

"I knew if I could stay at the wheel that the sprint was a little bit flatter, so I was waiting for that moment.

"Winning a stage in the Tour de France – no matter where it is – is nice."

Earlier in the day, Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates team-mate Vegard Stake Laengen and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen) became the first casualties of this year's race having tested positive for COVID-19.

Dutch delight for Van Aert

Van Aert moved level with Pogacar by claiming his eighth stage victory overall at the Tour de France.

And with the Dutch rider doubling his tally for the season, he has now won multiple stages in each of the last three years.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 4:13:06
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) same time
4. Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) same time
5. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 28:56:16
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:14

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 264
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 149
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 128

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 10
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 8

Tadej Pogacar hailed a "special day" at the Tour de France after digging deep to edge out Jonas Vingegaard in an enthralling finish, as he extended his overall lead with back-to-back stage victories.

Defending champion Pogacar took the yellow jersey with a terrific ride over a mammoth stage six on Thursday, but was pushed hard by both Vingegaard and Lennard Kamna en route to La Planche des Belles Filles the following day.

Kamna was the first to make his move in pursuit of a breakaway win, going clear before being hauled in by Vingegaard on a gruelling 24-per-cent climb.

But with the Dane looking set to claim his first-ever stage win at the Tour, the imperious Pogacar snatched the lead with just 25 metres remaining in a captivating finish, extending his general classification lead in the process.

Having returned to the site of his major breakthrough in 2020, where Pogacar took the yellow jersey en route to his first Tour de France title, the Slovenian said he had been particularly focused for the race's first mountain stage.

"It was really, really difficult, especially in the last part where Jonas attacked, he was so strong," Pogacar said. "But my boys were working all day, so I had to push to the finish line. 

"It was a really special day. We opened a foundation today for cancer research, so I wore special shoes just for today, and I'm really happy proud to take this win on Planche des Belles Filles.

"It was in my mind already for a really, really long time, maybe since the route was announced, and it was difficult to win today.

"I think right now Vingegaard is one of the strongest climbers in the world, probably the best climber in the world, and a really compact rider with a really strong team around him."

While Vingegaard was second over the line, Kamna dropped to fourth behind Primoz Roglic, with 2018 champion Geraint Thomas following in fifth to move into the top three of the general classification rankings.

Pogacar doubles up to strengthen grasp on lead

Pogacar's seemingly unshakeable grasp on the Tour de France's yellow jersey was strengthened as he posted back-to-back stage wins. 

The Slovenian has now won two more stages at the Tour than any other rider since the start of 2020 (Wout van Aert is second with six), as he replicated his consecutive triumphs over stages 17 and 18 en route to last year's title.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 3:58:40
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) same time 
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:12
4. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:14
5. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:14

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 24:43:14
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:35
3. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:10

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 203
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 140
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 108

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 10
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 8

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