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Gallery: The brutality of the Tour de France in full view

Joe Robinson
5 Jul 2021

Seven riders finish over the time limit on Stage 9 as Pogacar extends lead on first summit finish

Stage 9 of the Tour de France was all about survival. 144.9km vicious kilometres through a rainsoaked and freezing French Alps, with barely a flat piece of road and a 20.8km summit finish at Montee de Tignes.

For those contesting the General Classsification, it was about survinig the onslaughts of race leader Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). Clearly the strongest rider left in the race, it feels as if the Slovenian can put time into his rivals at will.

Yesterday he took a further 30 seconds to extend his lead to over five minutes from the likes of Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and the rest. In fact, Pogacar's closest rival is now the stage winner Ben O'Connor (AG2R-Citroen), who climbed 12 spots on GC by virtue of impressive performance.

Entering the first rest day, it feels as if this Tour is all but wrapped up for Pogacar barring injury or incident.

For the rest, it was about surviving the race.

For much of the day it was unsure whether the gruppetto would even make the time cut, such was the brutalitly of the stage. At one point there were no less than 40 riders outside of the limit, including esteemed climbers such as Julian Alaphilippe and Miguel Angel Lopez.

Thankfully they made it but the same could not be said for seven unfortunate souls who saw their Tour's end on the road to Tignes after missing the time cut. 

And spare a thought for poor Nic Dlamini. The Qhubeka-Assos man was making history as the first black South African to race the Tour yet finds himself heading home on the eve of the first rest day.

Dlamini crashed on a wet descent while riding to the finish in the gruppetto leavinng him dead last on the road and without a chance of making the time cut. Yet rather than slip into the broomwagon, the 25-year-old honoured the race by battling on to the stage finish alone finishing 1 hour, 24 minutes down on O'Connor.

Below, the best images from Chris Auld:

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