Jonas Vingegaard predicts stage 17 of the Tour de France will be “hand-to-hand” combat on the final climb.
The Danish pro has been arguably the biggest revelation of this year’s race, as he stepped into a leadership role for Jumbo-Visma after Primož Roglič abandoned the race.
Vingegaard, 24, sits third overall heading into day 17 of the 2021 Tour and has been the only rider strong enough to ride away from yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Looking ahead to stage 17, a 178km run from Muret to Saint-Lary-Soulan, Vingegaard said: “It is one of the toughest stages of this Tour and it will be a hand-to-hand combat on the final climb.”
Stage 17 starts with a long and flat 100km run into the foot of the first climb, the Col de Peyresourde, followed by the Col de Val Louron-Azet, which crests around 30km from the finish.
The race will then be decided on the daunting Col du Portet, at 16.4km climb with an average gradient of 8.6 per cent, where the GC contenders will be hoping to try and expose some weakness in the almost untouchable Pogačar.
Vingegaard is the only rider who has been able to put the Slovenian into trouble so far in this race, when he dropped Pogačar on the second ascent of Mont Ventoux on stage 11. But Pogačar was able to catch Vingegaard on the Ventoux descent, neutralising any time losses.
Jumbo-Visma took up the fight again in the final 10km of stage 16, attacking on the punchy final climb and riding to the line to try and distance their rivals, but without making any dents in the overall top-10.
Wout van Aert, another of Jumbo-Visma’s stars, said: “It was not a premeditated plan. Mike [Teunissen] yelled through the radio that a number of favourites were far behind in the peloton. That was the moment for us to try and put on some pressure. Especially since there was a crosswind in the final kilometres. It was definitely worth trying, but in the end it didn’t work out. Behind Pogačar it’s very close, so every second gained is good. We’re going to keep trying if the opportunity arises.”
Anna van der Breggen launches signature clothing collection
Double world champion adds new kit range to her list of projects in her final year as a pro
By Simon Smythe •
Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow bend road handlebar reviewed
Go-to handlebars if you like a curly drop
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
'It’s been a nice run, but it’s time': Richie Porte says 2021 edition was his final Tour de France
The Australian leads his national team into the Olympic Games road race on Saturday
By Richard Windsor •
Mark Cavendish beats Tim Merlier to sprint victory in post-Tour de France crit
The British sprinter was on the podium again in the lucrative exhibition race in Flanders
By Alex Ballinger •
From Dulwich Park to Paris: The story of Fred Wright's debut Tour de France
The 22-year-old Brit, 'a child of the Herne Hill community', was the youngest rider in this year's race
By Jonny Long •
Health issues could force Dave Brailsford to step down as Ineos Grenadiers boss
The 57-year-old has been treated for cancer and heart issues over the past couple of years
By Jonny Long •
How much prize money did Tadej Pogačar get for winning the Tour de France?
There was around €2.3 million up for grabs in this year's race
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Mark Cavendish rues leaving Mørkøv's wheel on Champs-Élysées, but will he ride another Tour de France?
Cavendish remains on 34 wins but is all smiles as he wins green jersey in incredible comeback
By Jonny Long •
Tour de France 2021 team ratings: how did each team perform?
We rate the performances of each of the teams in the 108th editon of the Tour de France
By Stephen Puddicombe •
From unfancied first selection to believing he can win a stage: Connor Swift's Tour de France dream continues
The 2018 British men's road race champion is becoming a regular feature in the race
By Chris Marshall-Bell •