Arnaud Demare claimed his second stage win of this year's Giro d'Italia with a clear victory on Thursday to take the Maglia Ciclamino off Peter Sagan.

The Groupama-FDJ rider launched his attack around 100m from the line and had the legs to comfortably finish ahead of Michael Matthews in second and Fabio Felline in third.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Sagan was swamped on the inside and finished down in eighth on stage six as his wait for a victory goes on.

Demare, who held off Sagan and Davide Ballerini to win stage four in a photo finish, admits he took a risk as he waited for the perfect moment to time his sprint finish.

"This is amazing. It was an incredibly hard finish," Demare said post-race. "I launched the sprint and can't believe I won it. I said if I won the first one, there'd be more.

"We tried and now we've shaken off the pressure. It was risky and I didn't think there'd be a chance for a sprint and that Bora would control the race.

"At 200m I said, ‘I'm going to go for it’, and it worked out. Thanks to the team who trusted me and lead me."

There was no change in terms of the overall race leader at the end of the 188km journey from Castrovillari to Matera, with Joao Almeida keeping hold of his Maglia Rosa.

Almeida crashed with 36km to go and veered into the road, but the bunch soon eased up and the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider made up some ground.

The Portuguese holds a 43-second lead over Bahrain-McLaren's Pello Bilbao in the general classification, while Wilco Kelderman is a further five seconds back.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 04:54:38
2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) same time
3. Fabio Felline (Astana) same time
4. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (UAE Team Emirates) same time
5. Davide Cimolai (Start-Up Nation) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 22:01:01
2. Pelle Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:48

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 106
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 67
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 55

King of the Mountains
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 41
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 40
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) 19

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage seven is 143km and takes the riders from Matera to Brindisi. It is the second-shortest road stage of the Corsa Rosa, with the only hill of note early on.

Filippo Ganna claimed his second stage win of this year's Giro d'Italia with a magnificent display of his climbing ability on Wednesday.

Team INEOS rider Ganna mastered the gruelling ascent of Valico di Montescuro and successfully navigated the descent to the finish line in damp conditions on stage five.

The Grand Tour debutant took the maglia rosa on the first day but lost it on stage three after dropping back to aid team leader Geraint Thomas - who subsequently withdrew from the race - following a crash in the neutral zone.

However, the 24-year-old was back in form on a 225-kilometre ride from Mileto to Camigliatello Silano, where Joao Almeida picked up four bonus seconds to extend his lead at the top of the general classification to 43 seconds.

Ganna spent the entire day in the breakaway and twice reeled in Hector Carretero on the ascent of Valico di Montescuro – a 24.4km climb at an average gradient of 5.6 per cent.

He somehow managed to stick with Einer Rubio and Thomas De Gendt, who did superbly to bridge the gap from the peloton, after the steeper middle section and then attacked with 16km remaining.

An incredible effort saw him establish a lead of just over a minute by the time he reached the summit and crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of the GC group, which saw Almeida pick up some valuable time.

Vincenzo Nibali failed to make a move after his Trek-Segafredo team-mate Pieter Weening was withdrawn due to feeling light dizziness after a crash, with Ganna moving into the maglia azzurra.

STAGE RESULT
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 05:59:17
2. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:34
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:34
4. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
5. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:34

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 17:06:23
2. Pelle Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:48

Points Classification
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 57
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 52
3. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 27

King of the Mountains
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 41
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 40
3. Edoardo Zardini (Vini Zabu'-Brado-KTM) 18

WHAT'S NEXT?

The sprinters will be pleased to have a flat stage on Thursday, with a 188km journey from Castrovillari to Matera on the schedule.

An Italian cyclist was left with a suspected broken back amid a nightmarish catalogue of injuries after being struck by debris said to have been blown his way by a low-flying helicopter at the Giro d'Italia.

Luca Wackermann, 28, was struck by a barrier near the end of stage four of the race, according to his team - Vini Zabu–KTM - who said the incident could have resulted in "heavier consequences".

They listed extensive injuries including blows to his nose, dental arch, chin, arms and legs. It is feared Wackermann suffered a serious back blow with a lumbosacral fracture, with further checks to be carried out to verify that damage.

Wackermann and team-mate Etienne van Empel were taken out after gusts apparently caused by a race helicopter sent barriers into their path.

Van Empel later wrote on Twitter: "I am okay. Only some small cuts on my fingers. Not really sure what happened but out of nowhere the barriers flew into our group."

But the news was miserable for Wackermann, who suffered extensive physical blows.

In a statement, his team revealed the injuries, saying: "The first report from the Universitary Hospital of Messina, where the rider has been moved after the crash, says that Wackermann suffered a concussion following a head injury, a fracture of the nasal bones, multiple contusions to the face and in the lumbosacral zone, a valid contusion to the lips and to the dental arch, lacerated wounds to the left eyebrow, on the chin and on the right knee, multiple bruises to arms and legs and a suspected lumbosacral fracture that is gonna be x-rayed again.

"Wackermann will spend the night in the hospital kept under observation and losing that chance to live a dream vanished because of an episode that could have brought some heavier consequences."

In his hospital bed, Wackermann was pictured by his team in a post on Twitter looking battered and bruised but attempting to raise a smile and giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

Arnaud Demare held off Peter Sagan and Davide Ballerini to win stage four of the Giro d'Italia on the day that pre-race favourite Geraint Thomas was forced to withdraw.

Team INEOS rider Thomas sustained a pelvis fracture when riding over a drinks bottle prior to the start of stage three and announced on Tuesday he was unable to continue.

That decision was taken shortly before an eventful leg in Villafranca Tirrena, with Groupama–FDJ's Demare sneaking in ahead of Sagan and Ballerini in a photo finish.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Sagan launched his sprint with a little under 200m to go, with Demare to his left, but he finished a matter of millimetres behind his rival.

Italian riders Ballerini, Andrea Vendrame and Elia Viviani completed the top five.

"I think it was a millimetre," Demare said in his post-race interview. "I had luck on my side. I often train for sprints behind my dad's scooter. It helped me for today.

"I wasn't sure if I had won when I crossed the line."

Joao Almeida finished the stage safely in the front group and extended his overall lead over closest challenger Jonathan Caicedo to two seconds, having taken bonus seconds on the second intermediate sprint.

The tense finish was somewhat overshadowed by a nasty crash involving Vini-Zabu riders Luca Wackermann and Etienne van Empel, who appeared to be taken out by barriers blown into their path by a low-flying race helicopter.

Geraint Thomas has abandoned the Giro d'Italia after suffering a pelvis fracture in a crash prior to the start of stage three.

Team INEOS rider Thomas was the pre-race favourite for the maglia rosa but fell on his left side after riding over a drinks bottle in the neutral zone on Monday.

The 2018 Tour de France champion returned to the bunch but was dropped by the peloton ahead of the ascent of Mount Etna, a 19-kilometre climb to the finish line.

Thomas finished over 12 minutes behind stage winner Jonathan Caicedo and lost more than 11 minutes to some of his general classification rivals.

Examinations carried out prior to stage four showed Thomas had sustained a fracture to his pelvis and would not contest the rest of the race.

"Geraint Thomas has been withdrawn from the Giro d'Italia ahead of stage four after further scans revealed a fracture of his pelvis following yesterday's crash," his team tweeted on Tuesday.

Thomas' team-mate Filippo Ganna dropped back to help guide him to the finish line and consequently relinquished the maglia rosa to Joao Almeida.

Geraint Thomas' hopes of winning the Giro d'Italia were effectively dashed as Jonathan Caicedo won a third stage that blew the general classification race wide open.

Team INEOS rider Thomas crashed in the neutral zone prior to the 150-kilometre ride that began in Enna and was dropped from the peloton prior to the gruelling 19km climb up Mount Etna to the finish.

He finished 12 minutes and 19 seconds adrift of Caicedo and more than 11 minutes behind a group of GC contenders that included Vincenzo Nibali.

Simon Yates, another candidate to triumph in Italy, finished four minutes and 22 seconds behind Caicedo, who narrowly missed out on the maglia rosa to Joao Almeida.

Thomas appeared to only suffer superficial injuries when he went down prior to the start of the race, with the crash reportedly caused by a bottle falling loose in the bunch.

Filippo Ganna, who started the day in the pink jersey, helped his INEOS team-mate Thomas fight on until the end, but losing ground at the base of Etna may well have extinguished the Welshman's hopes of winning a second grand tour.

Caicedo was a late arrival to an early break and he hung on as others wilted, dropping Giovanni Visconti with 5km to go and charging on to glory.

"I can't believe it, it's a dream come true. It just goes to show that if you believe in yourself, you can do it," said Caicedo.

"I was with a rider [Visconti] with a lot of experience and plenty of Giros behind him. I tried to pace myself and time my attack well, and I had the strength to make it to the finish line.

"I came here for stage wins. I hope my body responds well, and I'll try again on other days."

Harm Vanhoucke claimed the remaining bonus seconds before Jakob Fuglsang led Nibali, Rafal Majka, Jonathan Castroviejo and Domenico Pozzovivo across the line 51 seconds after Caicedo. Steven Kruijswijk was a further five seconds behind.

Yates fell away with 9km remaining and Mitchelton-Scott only dropped one rider back to assist him, meaning he slipped three minutes and 46 seconds adrift in a dramatic day in the GC.


STAGE RESULT

1. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 04:02:33
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu' - Brado-KTM) +00:21
3. Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) +00:30

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 07:44:25
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) +00:00
3. Pello Blibao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:37

Diego Ulissi's late attack proved fruitful as the UAE Team Emirates rider saw off Peter Sagan to clinch stage two of the Giro d'Italia. 

Ulissi broke free from the peloton with around one kilometre to go on the final climb of the 149km route from Alcamo to Agrigento on Sunday. 

Sagan stuck with Ulissi until the final sprint but was unable to prevent the Italian claiming a seventh career stage win at the Giro. 

"It was a very hard climb, I did my maximum but Ulissi was stronger," Sagan said afterwards. "It was pretty hard, three kilometres at full gas." 

There was another strong performance from Team INEOS' Geraint Thomas, who maintained his lead over fellow general classification contender Simon Yates. 

Thomas is third in the overall standings, 23 seconds behind his INEOS team-mate Filippo Ganna, who has the lead following victory in Saturday's time trial. 

However, Ganna's full focus is now on supporting team leader Thomas. 

"The climb was really hard," Ganna said. "I've conserved the [Maglia Rosa] jersey, I'm really happy. From tomorrow, I'll work for the team because it's a really hard day and it can decide the jersey. 

"[My role] is to support G [Thomas], obviously. I'm here for that and happy to support him."

Filippo Ganna won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Team INEOS colleague Geraint Thomas claimed an early lead over his general classification rivals. 

INEOS had endured a frustrating Tour de France as reigning champion Egan Bernal withdrew before the end having fallen well off the pace, with Richard Carapaz then being pipped in the race for the King of the Mountains jersey. 

However, the British-based team enjoyed a better first day in Italy as Ganna claimed the maglia rosa after the 15.1-kilometre individual time trial. 

The home hope, who won the individual time trial at the world championships last week, finished in 15 minutes and 24 seconds, beating nearest challenger Joao Almeida by 22 seconds. 

Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion who did not race for this year's yellow jersey, is fourth after the first day, well ahead of fellow GC hopefuls Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nibali. 

Fabio Jakobsen will undergo reconstructive surgery on his jaw two months after a horror crash during the Tour of Poland left him in an induced coma.

The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider collided with barriers at high speed in a sickening incident during a sprint finish on the opening stage in August.

Dutchman Jakobsen said he felt "grateful to be alive", having feared he would die in hospital when he became conscious in intensive care.

The 24-year-old is now preparing for further operations on his road to recovery.

He tweeted: "The past 2 months have been dominated by my recovery after my crash in the Tour of Poland. First of all, I had to recover from my brain contusion and other bruises/injuries for a long time.

"The wounds/scars on my face are healing up well. and I am in the hands of Prof. Dr. S. Berge and Prof. Dr. G. Meijer.

"The surgery involves placing bone, taken from my pelvic crest, in my upper and lower jaw, because a lot of bone is missing there. This bone will have to heal for several months.

"After that, another surgery will take place to put implants in my jaw so that I can get new teeth, as I lost them during my crash."

Geraint Thomas will start as favourite to continue the run of non-Italian winners when the Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday.

Dave Brailsford left Thomas out for the Tour de France, which he won two years ago, and instead targeted Giro glory for the Brit.

Thomas is well fancied to be wearing the maglia rosa for INEOS Grenadiers at the end of the 21st and final stage - an individual time trial from Monza to Milan on October 25.

There will also be a time trial to start what is usually the first Grand Tour of the season, but was put back due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the riders taking a 15-kilometre route from Monreale into Palermo.

Trek-Segafredo's Vincenzo Nibali was the last Italian winner of the prestigious race in 2016 and will be hoping to mount a challenge, but Simon Yates, Steven Kruijswijk and Jakob Fuglsang could provide bigger threats to Thomas.

Ahead of the Giro, we picked out some of the key Opta facts…

6 - The last six winners of the Giro have been from different countries, with Richard Carapaz the latest to continue that trend for Ecuador last year.

2 - The last rider to win the general classification and take more than two stage victories along the way was Denis Menchov in 2009, crossing the line first three times.

9 - Nibali will start his ninth Giro and has finished on the podium in his last six appearances in his home Grand Tour, with two wins in 2013 and 2016.

2011 - The late Michele Scarponi was the last rider to win both the general and points classifications at the Giro back in 2011. That was also the last time a rider won the race riding for a team registered in Italy (Lampre-ISD).

3 - Three of the last five winners of the points classification at the Giro have been Italian riders: Giacomo Nizzolo in 2015 and 2016, Elia Viviani in 2018.

16 - Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro in 2012, finishing only 16 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez, the smallest margin for a winner since 1974. Five of the last nine editions have been decided by a margin of less than a minute.

1 - Peter Sagan will make his first appearance at the Giro after taking part in the Tour de France nine times and the Vuelta a Espana on four occasions. He has never won any classic races held in Italy.

6 - Kruijswijk has finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven Grand Tours he completed, including in two Giro (seventh in 2015, fourth in 2016). However, he is yet to get an individual win in a Grand Tour (excluding team time trials).

20 - Fausto Coppi (1940) is the youngest rider to win the Giro at 20 years and eight months, whereas Fiorenzo Magni (1955) is the oldest, aged 34 years and six months.

Tadej Pogacar became Slovenia's first-ever winner of the Tour de France on Sunday, but that was just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the young rider's achievements in the 107th edition of the race.

Pogacar thrillingly overhauled fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic in Saturday's individual time trial to head into the final, largely ceremonial stage in the French capital on Sunday wearing the famous yellow.

He also claimed the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey and white jersey for the best rider aged 25 or under, as the UAE Team Emirates rider produced a memorable performance across the three-week race, which began in Nice on August 29.

But, while Pogacar was ultimately the star of the show, Roglic once again showed his quality, Sam Bennett did Republic of Ireland proud to fittingly claim the green jersey, while Australia's Richie Porte became only the second Aussie to finish on the podium at a Grand Tour.

As the dust settles on a gruelling and engrossing Tour de France, we look at the Opta numbers behind the 2020 edition…

Prodigious – Pogacar is the youngest winner of the Tour de France (21 years and 365 days) since Henri Cornet in 1904 (19 years and 352 days), 116 years ago.

Debut – Pogacar became the first rider to win the Tour de France in his maiden appearance since Laurent Fignon in 1983.

King – The Slovenian is also only the second rider to win the General Classification and two more standings (King of the Mountains and best young rider) in a single Tour de France. Eddy Merckx accomplished the feat in 1969, 1970 and 1972.

Pipped – Pogacar's victory was made all the more dramatic by Saturday's events, and as such, he is the first rider to win the Tour de France in the last two stages since Cadel Evans, who took the yellow jersey from Andy Schleck on the penultimate stage in 2011.

National service – Roglic and Pogacar are the first two riders of the same nationality to finish first and second in the Tour de France since Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in 2012.

Four-ce to be reckoned with – Roglic hasn’t ranked outside the top four in any of the 12 stage races he has completed since April 2018, winning eight of them.

Emulating – Porte is the second Australian rider to reach the podium in a Grand Tour. Only Evans has done so before (three in the Tour de France, one in the Giro d'Italia and one in the Vuelta a Espana).

Bern out – Egan Bernal is the first Tour de France winner (2019) to abandon the race in the following season since Chris Froome. After winning in 2013, he failed to finish in 2014.

Rub of the green – Bennett is the second Irishman to win the points ranking in the Tour de France after Sean Kelly (1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989).

A first to forget – This is the first time Peter Sagan has completed the Tour de France failing to win the Points Classification. He had won it in seven of the past eight editions and no other rider has claimed this title more times in the history of the race.

Nairo struggles – Excluding abandonments, this is the worst Nairo Quintana result (17th) in one of the three Grand Tours since his first appearance in La Vuelta 2012 (36th).

Tadej Pogacar completed his stunning Tour de France triumph in Paris as Sam Bennett celebrated taking the green jersey with victory on the Champs-Elysees.

Pogacar thrillingly overhauled fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic in Saturday's individual time trial to head into the final, largely ceremonial stage in the French capital bedecked in the famous yellow.

The 21-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider is the youngest winner of the Tour since 1904, while he also claimed the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey and the white jersey for the best rider aged 25 or under.

As is customary in Paris, one final moment of glory for the sprinters who have managed to toil through the mountains remained up for grabs and Bennett concluded a triumphant race in style.

The Irishman of Deceuninck-Quick-Step was already secure at the top of the points category after Peter Sagan did not contest the intermediate sprint.

Sagan was among the big hitters in contention for cycling's most famous sprint finish, obviously shorn of its usual bustling crowds, but none of them could live with Bennett who powered clear.

Pogacar concluded a life-altering three weeks shortly afterwards to rubber stamp his success on the day before his 22nd birthday.

The defeated Roglic and Australia's Richie Porte completed the podium behind cycling's newest breakout superstar.

POGACAR WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH SECOND OR LAST

Pogacar's triumph has proved as popular with the peloton as it was surprising, and the youngster lapped up an unforgettable moment of sporting triumph.

"It's unbelievable, it's really crazy. Even if I had come second or last it would still be nice to be here," he said. "But this is the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with words. Today was very special, a special moment with my team-mates. Finally some chance to talk with them on the bike and not just going full gas every day.

"A lot of respect to all the riders, I think every single one of them congratulated me. This sport is really amazing."

BENNETT REVELS IN UNIMAGINABLE VICTORY

The proud owner of the green jersey matched his counterpart in yellow in terms of joy and wonder.

"I can't tell you how excited I am. The green jersey, the Champs-Elysees, world championships of sprints … I never thought I'd ever be able to in this sage," Bennett said. "And to do it in green, with my dream team is so special. The way the boys rode all day, they were fantastic. The feeling is so amazing, I can't thank everyone enough."

STAGE RESULT 
 1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 2:53:32
 2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)
 3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
 4. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)
 5. Elia Viviani (Cofidis)

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
 1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 87:20:05
 2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:59
 3. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +3:30

Points Classification
 1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 380
 2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 284
 3. Matteo Trentin (CCC) 260

King of the Mountains
 1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 82
 2. Richard Carapaz (Team INEOS) 74
 3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 67

Tadej Pogacar felt like he was dreaming after his "full gas" individual time trial saw him storm to Tour de France glory on stage 20 on Saturday.

Primoz Roglic had a 57-second advantage over fellow Slovenian Pogacar ahead of the 36.2-kilometre ride from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles, which finished after a 5.9km category one climb.

Pogacar, who was also in the hunt for the King of the Mountains title, set out at high speed and had effectively halved Roglic's lead when the hit the base of the ascent, where both riders switched to road bikes.

Roglic was visibly struggling while 21-year-old Pogacar surged to triumph, with the Jumbo-Visma rider finishing one minute and 26 seconds later than his compatriot, who consequently took a 59-second lead in the general classification.

Barring any problems in the processional final stage on Sunday, Pogacar will be confirmed as the second-youngest Tour winner after a 19-year-old Henri Cornet in 1904.

"I think I'm dreaming. I don't know what to say. It's unbelievable," said Pogacar, who shared a hug with Roglic.

"My dream was just to be on the Tour de France, now the dream is true. I'm here and now there's only the last stage. This is unbelievable. I don't know when I will get this. 

"I'm really proud of the team. They did such a big effort. To get the yellow jersey on the final day is what we dreamed from the start. We achieved that and it's amazing. It was not just me, it was all the team. 

"We did a reconnaissance and I knew every corner, every pothole in the road, I knew when to accelerate and that's congrats to all the team. I pushed to the end and I made it.

"I was listening to my radio on the flat part but then on the climb, I didn't hear anything from the radio because the fans were too loud. I didn't get any time gaps, I just went deep. I knew the climb well and so went full gas from the bottom to the top."

Pogacar's astounding performance also saw him beat Richard Carapaz to the polka dot jersey and clinch top spot in the young rider classification.

Tadej Pogacar effectively clinched the Tour de France title with an incredible performance as Primoz Roglic wilted in a dramatic individual time trial on Saturday.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, obliterated Roglic's 57-second lead in the general classification on the 36.2-kilometre ride from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles, winning the penultimate stage with a simply stunning display.

Barring any potential shocks on the procession into Paris on Sunday, Pogacar will take his place at the top of the podium in a Grand Tour for the first time in his career.

The 21-year-old Slovenian crossed the line after 55 minutes and 55 seconds, with his compatriot Roglic producing a time that was one minute and 56 seconds slower – only good enough for fifth.

Pogacar had the yellow jersey and the King of the Mountains title in his sights but needed to go flat out in order to overthrow GC leader Roglic and polka dot jersey holder Richard Carapaz.

He started at a high pace and had 13 seconds on Roglic at the first checkpoint, and by the second split – which came at the base of a 5.9km climb at a gradient of 8.5 per cent – the Jumbo-Visma rider's overall advantage had been cut to 21 seconds.

Both switched to road bikes at the base of the ascent but Roglic's changeover was far more sluggish and he appeared to be in trouble as he got out of his seat for more power.

He could not match the phenomenal pace of Pogacar, who completed an unbelievable turnaround to take the yellow jersey and top the climbing classifications, with Carapaz failing to get a point.

Roglic slumped to the floor after getting off his bike and stared blankly ahead, the title having evaded him despite being in yellow since after stage nine.

Richie Porte was third fastest on the day, which proved enough to move past Miguel Angel Lopez and secure a place on the third step of the podium, while Sam Bennett all but clinched the green jersey.

MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE

Prior to the heading down the ramp, Pogacar told the media "everything is possible". He proved that was true with one of the greatest comebacks in Tour history.

"I think I'm dreaming. I don't know what to say. Unbelievable," he said following his triumph.

Roglic, who slipped 59 seconds adrift of Pogacar following a disappointing display, then interrupted the interview to give his compatriot a hug and say "good job".

Pogacar will become the second-youngest Tour de France winner in history – behind a 19-year-old Henri Cornet in 1904 – when he crosses the line on Sunday.

STAGE RESULT 
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 55:55
2. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +1:21
3. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +1:21
4. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +1:31
5. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Tadej Pogacar (Team Emirates) 84:26:33
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:59
3. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +3:30

Points Classification
1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 319
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 264
3. Matteo Trentin (CCC) 250

King of the Mountains
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE) Team Emirates) 82
2. Richard Carapaz (Team INEOS) 74
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 67

WHAT'S NEXT?

The champagne will be flowing as the riders cover the flat 122km route from Mantes-La-Jolie to the iconic Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Tadej Pogacar effectively clinched the Tour de France title with an incredible performance as Primoz Roglic wilted in a dramatic individual time trial on Saturday.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, obliterated Roglic's 57-second lead in the general classification on the 36.2-kilometre ride from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles, winning the penultimate stage with a simply stunning display.

Barring any potential shocks on the procession into Paris on Sunday, Pogacar will take his place at the top of the podium in a Grand Tour for the first time in his career.

The 21-year-old Slovenian crossed the line after 55 minutes and 55 seconds, with his compatriot Roglic producing a time that was one minute and 56 seconds slower – only good enough for fifth.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.