Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard retained the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France after an intense stage 14.
Spain’s Carlos Rodriguez, who had been dropped on the final climb, won the stage after he mugged Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar on the final descent.
The top two in the race duelled on the final climb after an attack by Pogacar.
Pogacar finished second with Vingegaard third but the Dane extended his overall lead by a second via bonus seconds for leading over the Col de Joux Plane.
The battle between the top two contenders for yellow commenced once the race had reached the final six kilometres of the hors category Col de la Joux Plane climb.
However, despite several minutes of explosive riding from Pogacar, little has changed in terms of the overall standings.
The two riders are perfectly balanced as competitors – Pogacar is more explosive, but Vingegaard appears to have a better ‘diesel’ engine that lets him say in touch with his rival.
The media motorbikes held up Pogacar as he attacked near the top of the final climb, and the two-time champion dropped a drinks bottle a few kilometres earlier, which seemed to unsettle him.
Both riders appear to be on the limit with a week left of this fascinating three-week race, and stage 15 – a 179km race from Les Gets to Mont Blanc – promises to be another titanic battle.
Early crash sees several abandonments
The stage had to be stopped and then restarted after a huge early crash which saw several riders hit the ground on a damp right-hand corner.
Spain’s Antonio Pedrero of Movistar had to abandon after being treated on the side of the road.
Colombia’s Esteban Chaves, South Africa’s Louis Meintjes, and Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro also abandoned the race.
And Britain’s James Shaw and France’s Romain Bardet later abandoned the race after a separate incident.
Mixed day for Brits
Tom Pidcock lost time after falling behind on the penultimate climb, a year after winning brilliantly on Alpe d’Huez.
The Ineos rider has dropped out of the top 10 in the general classification and is now set to focus on winning stages.
Compatriot Adam Yates, Pogacar’s primary climbing domestique for UAE-Team Emirates, finished fourth on Saturday and remains fifth in the GC.
Twin brother Simon lost ground for Jayco AlUla, but remains eighth overall.
Stage 14 results:
1. Carlos Rodriguez (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) 3hrs 58mins 45secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) +5secs
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) same time
4. Adam Yates (GB/UAE-Team Emirates) +10secs
5. Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) +57secs
6. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1min 46secs
7. Felix Gall (Aut/AG2R-Citroen) Same time
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrian-Victorious) +3mins 19secs
9. Simon Yates (GB/Jayco AlUla) +3mins 21secs
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +5mins 57secs
General classification standings:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 53hrs 48mins 50secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +10secs
3. Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) +4mins 43secs
4. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +4mins 44secs
5. Adam Yates (GB/UAE Team Emirates) +5mins 20secs
6. Sepp Kuss (US/Jumbo-Visma) +8mins 15secs
7. Simon Yates (GB/Team Jayco-AlUla) +8mins 32secs
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +8mins 51secs
9. Felix Gall (Aut/AG2R-Citroen) +12mins 26secs
10. David Gaudu (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +12mins 56secs