The Netherlands picked up their second stage win at Le Tour on Saturday as the peloton headed into the punishing Pyrenees mountains. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) waited until Col de Saint Louis to pull away from the breakaway group to win Stage 14 of the 2021 Tour de France during a hilly ride from Carcassonne to Quillan. However, France’s Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) rocketed from ninth place to second place in the general classification standings, which is really the big story of Stage 14.
Martin trails yellow jersey leader Tadej Pogacar by 4:04 after a heroic and tactically superb ride after he attacked on the ascent of Col de Montsegur.
|2021 TOUR de FRANCE – STAGE 14 RESULTS|
- Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 04:16:16
- Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +01:04
- Sergio Higuita Garcia (EF Education-Nippo) +01:04
- Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +01:06
- Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation) +01:10
Martin finished 88 seconds behind Mollema for 11th place overall in Stage 14. However, the Frenchman finished 5:25 ahead of the peloton, where Pogacar and the other conservative GC contenders were riding.
Mollema secured his second-career stage victory, but it was also the first stage win for team Trek-Segafredo this year and their first time on the podium in three years.
⛰ Take a look at the 3D route of the last climb of the day : the Col de Saint-Louis (summit at 16.9 km from finish line).
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 10, 2021
Stage 14: Carcassonne > Quillan
On the Tour de France website, Stage 14 is listed as a “hilly” 184 km route but it was as challenging as a mountain stage during a blistering-hot day with a pair of Category 3 climbs and three Category 2 ascents at Col de Montsegur, Col e la Croix des Morts, and Col de Saint Louis. Stage 14 began at the walled city of Carcassonne with a finish at Quillan for the first time in Tour de France history.
With 40 km remaining, Mollema pulled away from the breakaway group at the Col de Saint Louis, but he went full gas on the descent heading into the finish line at Quillan.
“I was feeling good so I thought let’s go from far,” said Mollema. “I had the confidence I could ride alone and keep going for a long time. Normally I can pace myself really well. When I got to the top of the last climb with 50 seconds I knew I could make it.”
Mollema held off the chase pack that included Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo), Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep), and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation). They were unable to close the gap and Mollema went unchallenged at the finish line for his second-career Tour de France stage victory.
Martin knew the route well, but also knew he couldn’t win Stage 14 outright, so he focused on chipping away at Pogacar’s overall lead.
“When I attacked on the Col de Montsegur, I knew exactly where to go and what was coming after,” said Martin. “Knew the up and down route that would be good for a breakaway.”
On Deck Stage 15: Ceret > Andorre-la-Vielle
The most challenging stage of the 2021 Tour de France looms on Sunday in the Pyrenees with Stage 15, a 191.3 km treacherous route from Ceret to Andorre-la-Vielle. The peloton faces four hellacious categorized climbs in Stage 15 including Category 1 Port d’Envalira, which sits 2,409 meters above sea level, as the highest summit on this year’s race. The rider that reaches the summit first win the Souvenir Henri Desgrange award and a cash prize worth €5,000.
Le Tour also dips into Andorra, which is a tiny principality squeezed in between France and Spain in the Pyrenees. The peloton will be challenged with a Category 1 climb to the top of Col de Beixalis, which has an 8.4% gradient.
|2021 LE TOUR – OVERALL GC STANDINGS|
- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 56:50:21
- Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +4:04
- Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +5:18
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32
- Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +05:33
For the first time in several days, there’s a shake up in the GC standings after Martin surged into second place. Rigoberto Uran slipped to third, but he’s still 5:18 behind Pogacar.
Pogacar still has a four-plus minute gap over Martin, but the defending champion thrives in the Pyrenees, so we’ll see how much more time he can add to his overall lead.
Pogacar is still the overwhelming favorite to win the Tour de France at -1420 odds, whereas Martin saw his odds improve to +5000 after moving into second overall.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 Tour de France.