Bauke Mollema wins the 14th hilly stage; Tadej Pogacar keeps a big lead-Sports News, Firstpost

Pogacar has kept the yellow jersey since he took control of the race on stage 8 in the Alps. Rigoberto Uran, Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz are all more than five minutes from his pace.

Bauke Mollema crosses the finish line to win the fourteenth stage of the Tour de France on Saturday. AP Photo

Tadej Pogacar will approach the final week of the Tour de France with a considerable advantage to retain the elite cycling title after being undisputed in the 14th stage won by Bauke Mollema on Saturday.

Pogacar’s remaining rivals – all far behind in the standings – refrained from attacking the defending champion during the hilly stage which sets up more serious tests in the Pyrenees.

The Pogacar UAE team remained comfortable in front of or near the peloton throughout the 184 kilometer (114 mile) hike from Carcassonne to Quillan in southern France, happy to leave the group escaped to dispute the stage victory.

The Slovenian is four minutes ahead of Guillaume Martin. The French rider, who was part of the breakaway, went from ninth to second place. Rigoberto Uran, Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz are all more than five minutes behind Pogacar’s pace.

Pogacar has kept the yellow jersey since he took control of the race on stage 8 in the Alps. With 2020 runner-up Primoz Roglic and other potential contenders out of the race, Pogacar has had little trouble securing his overall advantage over the past week.

Mollema, a Trek rider, earned his second career stage victory on the Tour when he escaped on the descent of the fourth of five climbs of the day. Mollema’s other stage victory on the Tour dates back to 2017.

Mollema embarked on the windy descent through the steep gorges of the Côte de Galinagues. He quickly set off to build an insurmountable lead and traveled alone the last 42 kilometers up and down the Col de Saint-Louis category two.

With no opponent in sight when he crossed the line in just over four hours, Mollema had time to raise his arms and soak up the applause. Patrick Konrad edged out Sergio Higuita to finish second, more than a minute behind.

“I felt good so I thought we were starting a long way off,” Mollema said. “I had the confidence that I could ride alone and go on for a long time. Normally, I can pace myself very well. When I got to the top of the last climb with 50 seconds I knew I could do it.

On Sunday, the riders reached the Pyrenees with a 191 kilometer (118 mile) race starting in Céret and ending in the small mountainous nation of Andorra. The trek includes three category 1 climbs. After a rest on Monday, the peloton will face another three days in the hills and mountains near the Spanish border.

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