While Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič dispensed with their GC rivals on stage 13 to make it a one-two for Slovenia at the top of the Tour de France general classification, Pogačar has made it clear he will not settle for second place.
“It was a tough battle but in those last 2km I don’t think we were friends,” Pogačar said of the race after the pair drifted away from their rivals in the final, testing each other to the line. “We just wanted to get to the top, we will definitely see more attacking and more rivalry in the next week.”
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Fighting talk from the 21-year-old, who moved up five places on GC and now sits 44 seconds behind Roglič.
“I gained time on everyone except Roglič so I’m really happy,” the UAE Team Emirates rider said. “It was a really hard day, we started full gas for the first hour and then it slowed down a bit. But when Ineos started pulling it was really hard. Alongside Primož we then managed to keep the distance [from our GC rivals], it’s really positive for me.”
Egan Bernal suffered on the final climb and lost nearly 40 seconds, meaning Roglič doubled his GC lead as the Ineos rider slipped back to third place on GC.
“The last 2km were really hard, to sum it up in two words,” Roglič said. “I already thought from the bottom of the climb on the right ‘where is the top? Phwoar, this will hurt’ even though it was only 2km.
“But it was full gas, we were all on the limit so everyone who tried to come to the top had to do a really big effort. I was just super happy and could ride to my advantage.”
Behind Roglič and Pogačar in the overall classification sit four Colombians, bookended by Miguel Ángel López in sixth place at a minute and a half down. With victory for Colombian Dani Martínez, it was a great day for the South American nation, but Roglič still thinks it was a better day for Slovenia.
As for whether Pogačar has replaced Bernal as his main rival for the yellow jersey, Roglič maintains he doesn’t want to think of particular names until we are deeper in the race and the GC picture becomes even clearer.
“It’s not finished yet, there’s a long way to go and a lot of things to happen, a lot of different scenarios and different riders will be there,” Roglič said. “I still don’t want to bother myself with the names, or who is better, and just try to do my best and we’ll be happy with what we do.”
Just as Pogačar has stated his intent to keep attacking, Roglič also wouldn’t be drawn on whether he will now ride defensively to protect his yellow jersey or continue to try and put time into his GC rivals who don’t look to have the legs of the Slovenian duo.
The last word from Roglič might have given it away, however: “There is still a lot of exciting racing to come,” he said.