July 15, 2021

LUZ ARDIDEN, France (Reuters) -Tadej Pogacar edged closer to retaining his Tour de France title as he claimed another landmark victory in the 18th stage, a 129.7-km mountain ride from Pau to Luz Ardiden on Thursday.

The Slovenian’s brutal acceleration 500 metres from the line, at top of Luz Ardiden, could not be matched by his rivals as Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard and Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz finished two seconds behind in second and third, respectively.

Overall, Pogacar now has a massive advantage of five minutes 45 seconds over Vingegaard with Carapaz in third place overall, a further six seconds behind.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran, fourth overall at the start, cracked in the penultimate ascent to the Col du Tourmalet to drop out of the top 10.

Australian Ben O’Connor is now fourth, 8:18 off the pace two days before Saturday’s final individual time trial.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by David Evans and Pritha Sarkar)