Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard retained the leader’s yellow jersey in the Tour de France after an intense stage 14.
Spain’s Carlos Rodríguez, who had crashed on the last climb, won the stage after attacking Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar on the final descent.
The top two in the race dueled on the final climb after an attack from Pogacar.
Pogacar finished second with Vingegaard third, but the Dane extended his overall lead by one second by taking extra seconds to lead the Col de Joux plane.
Run out of breath
The battle between the first two contenders for the yellow began once the race had reached the final six kilometers of the climb to the plane of the Hors Col de la Joux category.
However, despite several minutes of explosive ball from Pogacar, little has changed in terms of the overall standings.
The two drivers are perfectly balanced as competitors: Pogacar is more explosive, but Vingegaard seems to have a better “diesel” engine that allows him to keep up with his rival.
Media bikes held up Pogacar as he attacked near the top of the final climb, and the two-time champion dropped a drinks bottle a few kilometers before, which seemed to unsettle him.
Both riders appear to be on edge with one week remaining in this fascinating three-week race, and stage 15, a 179km race from Les Gets to Mont Blanc, promises to be another titanic battle.
The early crash sees several dropouts
The stage had to be stopped and then restarted after a large early crash saw several riders hit the ground in a wet right corner.
Spaniard Antonio Pedrero of Movistar had to retire after being treated at the side of the road.
Colombian Esteban Chaves, South African Louis Meintjes and Portuguese Ruben Guerreiro also left the race.
And Britain’s James Shaw and France’s Romain Bardet left the race after a separate incident.
Mixed day for the British
Tom Pidcock lost time after falling behind on the penultimate climb, a year after winning Alpe d’Huez brilliantly.
The Ineos rider has dropped out of the top 10 in the general classification and will now focus on winning stages.
Compatriot Adam Yates, Pogacar’s leading domestic climber for the UAE-Team Emirates, finished fourth on Saturday and remains fifth on the GC.
Twin brother Simon lost ground to Jayco AlUla but remains eighth overall.
Stage 14 Results:
1. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) 3h 58min 45s
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE-Team Emirates) +5sec
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) same time
4. Adam Yates (GB/UAE-Team Emirates) +10 seconds
5. Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) +57s
6. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1 min 46 sec
7. Felix Gall (Aut/AG2R-Citroën) Same time
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrian-Victorious) +3min 19s
9. Simon Yates (GB/Jayco AlUla) +3min 21s
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra/Cofidis) +5min 57s
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den/Jumbo-Visma) 53 hours 48 minutes 50 seconds
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +10s
3. Carlos Rodríguez Cano (Spa/Ineos Grenadiers) +4min 43s
4. Jai Hindley (Aus/Bora-Hansgrohe) +4min 44s
5. Adam Yates (GB/UAE Team Emirates) +5min 20s
6. Sepp Kuss (USA/Jumbo-Visma) +8min 15s
7. Simon Yates (GB/Team Jayco-AlUla) +8 minutes 32 seconds
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) +8min 51s
9. Felix Gall (Aut/AG2R-Citroën) +12 minutes 26 seconds
10. David Gaudu (Woman/Groupama-FDJ) +12min 56s