Tadej Pogačar triumphed on stage 15 of the Tour de France at the summit of the Grand Colombier ©Getty Images

Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar claimed victory on stage 15 of the Tour de France ahead of race leader Primož Roglič, while defending champion Egan Bernal saw his general classification hopes all but end.

The 174-kilometre mountain stage taking the riders from Lyon to the Grand Colombier was expected to be a vital day in the general classification battle.

The Grand Colombier climb ended Bernal’s hopes of securing back-to-back Tour de France titles, with the Colombian rider losing contact with his rivals.

Jumbo-Visma had taken the role of pace setters on the 17.4km climb to the finish in aid of Roglič.

The high tempo set by Belgium’s Wout Van Aert and then The Netherlands’ Tom Dumoulin was enough to drop another of Roglič’s rivals Nairo Quintana of Colombia.

The pace also prevented any serious attacks with the general classification group remaining together, although Britain’s Adam Yates briefly attempted to pull clear.

Roglič attempted to secure the stage victory with an acceleration in the final kilometre, but his fellow Slovenian Pogačar finished strongly to triumph in 4 hours, 34min and 13sec.

Pogačar secured bonus seconds for the stage win to close the gap in the general classification by four seconds, despite Roglič finishing second on the same time.

Australia’s Richie Porte continued his impressive Tour de France performance by ending third at five seconds down, with Miguel Angel Lopez of Colombia three seconds further back.

Yates and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran ended 15 and 18 seconds behind the stage winner to strengthen their positions on the general classification.

Defending champion Egan Bernal, right, saw his general classification hopes all but end ©Getty Images
Defending champion Egan Bernal, right, saw his general classification hopes all but end ©Getty Images

"In the final kilometres I was ready to sprint, I’m so happy I won again," said Pogačar, who also won stage nine.

"Jumbo-Visma was prepared to smash everything today.

"From my point of view, it didn’t make sense to attack.

"Jumbo-Visma set a really hard pace today and some riders paid for it. 

"At the moment, Roglic seems unstoppable.

"But today Bernal cracked and maybe one day myself or Primoz will crack too.

"There are still a lot of opportunities ahead."

Pogačar is now 40 seconds behind Roglič in the standings, with Uran and Lopez following at 1:34 and 1:45 down.

Yates and Porte rose up the general classification with the duo 2:03 and 2:13 off the race lead.

Their rise coincided with the fall of Quintana and Bernal, who now lie 5:08 and 8:25 behind the race leader.

The final rest day of the race will take place tomorrow.