Bauke Mollema claimed his second Tour de France stage win in Quillan four years after he imposed himself solo at Le Puy-en-Velay. He did it the same way, escaping from a breakaway and finishing solo. Patrick Konrad and Sergio Higuita rounded out the podium. Tadej Pogacar retained the yellow jersey while Guillaume Martin moved to second overall.
A long fight for the breakaway
159 riders started stage 14 in Carcassonne at 12.19. Two non-starters: Soren Kragh Andersen (DSM) and Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic). Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) was the first of many attackers after the flag off. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) and Quentin Pacher (B&B-KTM) got a bit of a gap before a regrouping that preceded a solo attack at km 25 by Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix). The Italian was reinforced by Maxime Chevalier (B&B-KTM), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix) at km 39. They got reeled in on the line of the intermediate sprint at Lavelanet (km 76.7) even though Rickaert managed to cross first.
Woods and Poels on the hunt for the polka dot jersey
Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) went clear before the ascent to col de Montségur (cat. 2, km 89). Michael Woods (Israel-Start Up-Nation) caught up with them. It was a head to head sprint between Poels and Woods at the top with the Dutchman outclassing the Canadian. Cattaneo came across to the two leaders with 80km to go while Sergio Higuita (EF Education-Nippo), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Omar Fraile (Astana), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Esteban Chaves (BikeExchange), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) were timed 40’’ behind the yellow jersey peloton at 1’40’’. Woods took his revenge over Poels at col de la Croix des Morts. 10 riders gathered in the lead 72km before the end while Pierre Rolland and Pacher (B&B-KTM), Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic) were in between. It made a front group of 14 riders at the bottom of côte de Galinagues with 59km to go.
Mollema solo with 41km to go
Woods became the provisional KOM leader at côte de Galinagues. He slipped in the downhill as he was leading the front group with 50km remaining. He made it back eight kilometres further. 41km before the end, Mollema rode away solo in the downhill of the non-categorized col du Castel. The Dutchman had 1’30’’ lead over his former breakaway companions at the foot of unprecedented col de Saint-Louis with 21km to go while the peloton was timed 5’40’’ adrift. EF Education-Nippo sped up at the head of the pack to defend Rigoberto Uran’s second place due to the presence of Guillaume Martin at the front. Mollema crested with an advantage of 1’ over Woods who secured his first ever polka dot jersey. Mollema maintained his lead in the downhill. Konrad outsprinted Higuita for the second place. G. Martin crossed the line with a deficit of 1’28’’ but an advance over the peloton that enabled him to move up to second overall behind Tadej Pogacar.