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

Tadej Pogacar declared each of his victories feels better than the last after claiming the yellow jersey with a thrilling win over stage six of the Tour de France, stepping up his bid for a third consecutive triumph in the race.

The 23-year-old attacked at the tail end of the climb into Longwy, accelerating away from the peloton to finish ahead of Michael Matthews and David Gaudu and snatch the overall lead from Wout van Aert.

Van Aert did not give up the yellow jersey without a fight, at one stage looking set for an extraordinary solo victory after breaking clear to establish a sizeable lead with 25 kilometres remaining. 

But the Belgian was eventually reeled in by a much-reduced peloton 11km from the finish, with Pogacar's lung-busting late effort allowing him to see off Matthews, Gaudu and the rest of the pack, clinching victory on the race's longest stage. 

With bonus seconds applied, Pogacar now boasts a four-second overall lead over Neilson Powless, and the Slovenian expressed his delight after sealing a victory which looked unlikely for much of the stage.

"Every time I win it's even better than before," he beamed after crossing the line. "It was such a hard day from the start. The first two hours were so crazy.

"The strongest guy was in the break. Many teams were pulling the peloton strongly, our team did it as well. In the end, the peloton was stronger [than Van Aert], but we were not sure to catch him.

"I was feeling good. My team did an incredibly good job to put me in a perfect position. It was not a pure sprint after we rode the last two climbs above threshold.

"I guess I had good legs to push in the end. I don't mind taking the yellow jersey, but I'm above all happy to take the stage win. Everything else is bonus."

Pogacar remains the man to beat

Pogacar began this year's edition of the Tour looking to become just the second rider to triumph on each of his first three appearances in the race (after Eddy Merckx won on each of his first five outings between 1969 and 1974).

While he had to remain patient after Van Aert accelerated away in the early stages here, his triumph – the fifth stage win at the Tour of his career – demonstrated he remains the rider to beat.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 4:27:13
2. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)
4. Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
5. Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 20:44:44
2. Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +0:04
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:31

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 198
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 137
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 89

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) 2
3. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 2

Simon Clarke admitted he surprised even himself after edging out Taco van der Hoorn to win an action-packed stage five of the 2022 Tour de France.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider landed the victory from the breakaway on the cobbles of Arenberg on Wednesday, a day in which the General Classification was shaken up.

Jumbo-Visma endured a day to forget in the north-east of France, with Primoz Roglic crashing late on to see his title hopes dented and Wout Van Aert also losing ground.

While Roglic finished just under three minutes off the pace, race leader Van Aert recovered from an early crash of his own to finish just 13 seconds behind rival Tadej Pogacar.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, seeking a third Tour de France crown, rode clear of the main field to shake up the GC standings.

The day ultimately belonged to Clarke, though, with the Australian beating Van der Hoorn in a photo finish in a dramatic 157-kilometre race from Lille that went the distance.

Five men broke away from the pack and Clarke, who recently contemplated early retirement, dug deep to nudge his wheel over the line for his first Tour de France triumph.

"After the winter I had when I had no team, to then have Israel ring me and say we'll give you a chance, it gives you a reality check to make the most of every chance," Clarke said.

"I still can't believe I got it on the line. Taco was well ahead of me with less than 50m to go, both legs were camping and I just lined up the biggest throw I could possibly do.

"I just had to pray it was enough. I need to watch the replay – I still don't quite believe it!"

 

Roglic concedes ground on Pogacar

The leading group was reduced to five men with around 26km to go and it was Clarke who saw the job through ahead of Van der Hoorn, with Edvald Boasson Hagen rounding off the podium.

Stage five was a big one in terms of the GC, with defending champion Pogacar making up two minutes on Roglic to underline his status as favourite for another title.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) 3:13:35
2. Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:02
4. Neilson Powless (EF Education–EasyPost) +0.04
5. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) +0.30


CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 16:17:22
2. Neilson Powless (EF Education–EasyPost) +0:13
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) +0:14

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 178
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 126
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 86

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 11
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1

Wout van Aert put any frustration from the first three Tour de France stages behind him as he won in emphatic fashion in Calais.

Van Aert finished second in each of the first three stages in Denmark but made sure of victory on Tuesday with a wonderful late surge that left the rest of the race in his wake.

Having worked with his Team Jumbo-Visma team-mates and a clutch of INEOS Grenadiers riders - including Adam Yates and general classification hopeful Geraint Thomas - to catch Anthony Perez (Cofidis) on the final climb with just over 10 kilometres remaining of the route from Dunkirk to Calais, Van Aert powered off down the home stretch.

A brilliant all-rounder, GC leader Van Aert turned what might have been a bunch sprint finish into a solo time trial, and he was able to celebrate as he crossed the line, assured of a well-earned success.

Having been pipped to the line by Fabio Jakobsen on Saturday and Dylan Groenewegen a day later, Van Aert was in no mood to leave anything to chance.

"I didn't want to take the risk anymore," Van Aert said when asked if he was tired of bunch sprints.

"We were in perfect position, it opened up on the climb. I came over the top alone... so I decided to go alone and then it was 10km of all-out suffering."

Asked what it was like to win a stage of Le Tour while wearing the famous yellow jersey, 27-year-old Van Aert, who now holds a 25-second lead in the GC standings, replied "this jersey gives you wings", seemingly referencing his celebration as he crossed the line, when he spread out and flapped his arms.

"This stage was most likely to end in a sprint in a bigger group, so it's one of the most difficult things to do to go alone," he continued. "I could only do it with the help of my team-mates. They did half the work, it was up to me to finish it off."

Philipsen left red-faced

Joy turned to embarrassment for Jasper Philipsen, who executed a perfect sprint finish to snatch second place.

He celebrated wildly as he crossed the line, only to be told that it was Van Aert who had already claimed victory. Such was the latter's lead, it is no surprise that Philipsen lost track.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 4:01:36
2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 4:01:44
3. Christophe Laporte (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
4. Alexander Kristoff (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) same time
5. Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 13:02:43
2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:25
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:32

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 170
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 109
3. Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) 80

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 11
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1

"Shocked" Tour de France organisers have sent their "sympathy and compassion" over Sunday's shooting in Copenhagen, days after the city hosted the race's Grand Depart.

At least three people were killed in the incident at a shopping centre in the Danish capital, with several others injured.

Denmark has played host to the first three stages of the 109th edition of the race this year.

"The Tour de France assures the Danish people of its sympathy and compassion in this time," a statement issued by organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) read.

"The Tour is extremely shocked and saddened to hear of what has happened in Copenhagen.

"The people of Copenhagen had given the peloton one of the greatest welcomes in the sport’s history, forging deep bonds with all its followers.

"The entire caravan of the Tour de France sends its sincerest condolences to the victims and their families."

The next stage of the Tour de France will run on July 5, with riders taking on a hilly stage between Dunkirk and Calais.

Dylan Groenewegen snatched victory from Wout van Aert on the finish line to bring a dramatic end to the Tour de France's three-stage stint in Denmark.

The caravan packs up and heads to France ahead of stage four on Tuesday, and much of Sunday's 182-kilometre race from Vejle to Sonderborg was calm and controlled.

Yet a crash with just under 10km to go that almost caught two-time champion Tadej Pogacar sparked a frantic conclusion.

Fabio Jakobsen, the sprint favourite who triumphed on Saturday, had another fantastic lead-out from Michael Morkov, yet the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider got caught in the pack.

Lotto Soudal's sprint hope Caleb Ewan was likewise frustrated as Peter Sagan took his line, and it looked as though he would compete with Van Aert, donning the yellow jersey after successive second-place finishes.

However, Groenewegen caught the pair cold, with a last-gasp lunge just nudging his front wheel across the line ahead of Van Aert, while Sagan was beaten to third by Jasper Philipsen.

Groenewegen has now won five stages at Le Tour, yet this one is perhaps the most meaningful, with the Dutchman having been banned for nine months in 2020 for causing a crash that left Jakobsen in a medically induced coma.

"I want to say thank you to my team and my family and friends for getting me back to the Tour in good shape. It's beautiful," said Groenewegen, who suffered a broken collar bone and needed facial reconstruction as a result of that collision at the 2020 Tour de Pologne, for which he subsequently apologised.

"Not physically a struggle, but mentally it was a hard time of course. This for my wife and my son, it means a lot to me."

Van Aert fails to find the funny side as Pogacar gets lucky

Having been pipped to the post by Jakobsen on Saturday, Team Jumbo-Visma rider Van Aert was frustrated by an even finer margin this time around, though can be consoled by the fact he retained the yellow jersey and has a 17-point lead in the points classification.

"It's not funny anymore," Van Aert quipped. "To finish second three days in a row!"

Pogacar will be looking to get the famous jersey off Van Aert later in the race as he hunts for his third straight Tour de France triumph, though the Slovenian was fortunate that he escaped the late crash. His back wheel was clipped, but he just managed to keep his balance.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) 4:11:33
2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) same time
4. Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) same time
5. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 9:01:17
2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) +0:07
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:14

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 107
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 90
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange–Jayco) 60

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education–EasyPost) 6

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