Bauke Mollema wins Tour de France stage; Frenchman moves into 2nd place

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QUILLAN, France (AP) — Bauke Mollema won a hilly 14th stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, while Tadej Pogacar protected his commanding lead before the race heads into the Pyrenees.

The 34-year-old Dutch rider for Trek claimed his second career stage victory at the Tour when he broke away on the way down from the fourth of the day’s five climbs. Mollema’s other Tour stage win was in 2017.

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Mollema set off on the windy descent through sheer gorges from the Cote de Galinagues. He quickly powered away to build an insurmountable lead and rode the final 42 kilometers up and down the category-two Col de Saint-Louis all alone.

With no opponent in sight when he crossed the line in just over 4 hours, 16 minutes, Mollema had time to raise his arms and soak up the applause. Patrick Konrad edged Sergio Higuita to finish second, over a minute behind.

Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates stayed comfortable at or near the front of the peloton through the 114-mile trek from Carcassonne to Quillan in southern France, content to let the breakaway group dispute the stage victory.

On Sunday, the riders hit the Pyrenees with a 118-mile ride starting in Ceret and finishing in the tiny mountain-bound nation of Andorra. The trek includes three category-one climbs. After a rest on Monday, the peloton will face three more days in the hills and mountains.

Defending champion Pogacar has kept the yellow jersey since he took control of the race on stage 8 in the Alps. With 2020 runner-up Primoz Roglic and other potential contenders out of the race, Pogacar has increased his lead in the general classification.

The 22-year-old Slovenian will head into the final week with a four-minute lead over Guillaume Martin, who was in the breakaway and moved from ninth overall to second.

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Bauke Mollema wins Tour de France stage; Frenchman moves into 2nd place originally appeared on NBCSports.com