Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) won stage 11 at the Tour de France after attacking the other GC contenders on the Col du Granon on Wednesday. He put in a devastating ride to snatch the overall lead from the shoulders of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
In an epic showdown in the high Alps, Jumbo-Visma pulled off a tactical masterstroke to dislodge Pogačar from his throne and land a hammer blow to the Slovenian’s hopes of winning a third straight Tour de France.
For the first time in his career, Pogačar was under serious pressure and would soon be seriously isolated on the Col du Galibier. As the leaders took on the savage gradients of the Col du Granon, Vingegaard took flight. After Pogačar had managed to hold on all day, this time he was distanced and soon the Dane had a lead of more than a minute.
Earlier in the day Warren Barguil had been part of a big breakaway, not that it mattered to Vingegaard as he flew past the Frenchman with Pogačar still on the ropes to take a monumental victory for Jumbo-Visma.
Nairo Quintana came in second on a remarkable day with Romain Bardet third. Geraint Thomas took fourth as Pogačar haemorrhaged time on a dramatic day of racing.
By the time Tadej Pogačar crossed the finish line himself, he had lost nearly two minutes to slip to third overall. Romain Bardet climbed to second with Geraint Thomas in fourth.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Prior to the mammoth 152 kilometre stage getting underway, much of the pre-race talk was how UAE Team Emirates would cope after losing George Bennett yesterday.
Tadej Pogačar was still at the top of the overall standings, but was expected to be put under pressure in the high mountains. The race was due to climb the giant Col du Galibier, this year’s Souvenir Henri Desgrange, before climbing the Col du Granon Serre Chevalier, the highest summit finish at the Tour de France this century.
The last time the race finished there was 36 years ago, which saw Bernard Hinault lose the yellow jersey to Greg LeMond. With a summit finish at more than 2,400 metres, today would be one for the pure climbers.
The moment Christian Prudhomme dropped the flag, both Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) were straight on the attack. Van Aert will have wanted the intermediate sprint points at Aiguebelle. Van Aert won the stage to Mont Ventoux at last year’s race and certainly looked like he was up for the fight again today.
Multiple other riders attempted to join them, including Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) and Bret Van Moer (Lotto Soudal). Van Aert and van der Poel had a 40 second gap from the main field. With Van Aert ahead and Benoot behind him, Jumbo-Visma looked like the plans were already in motion ahead of the summit finish later in the day.
With 130km to go the race was flying along the valley road on the way to the spectacular 18 hairpins of the Lacets de Montvernier climb. Matteo Cattaneo (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) put in a huge effort to try and bridge across to the front and would eventually make it.
A large number of riders then joined the trio forming a group of 20, including Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-EasyPost), Nils Pollitt & Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) and Simon Geschke (Cofidis). After the breakaway hit the Lacets de Montvernier with 100 kilometres to go, they had established a solid lead of almost five minutes.
As the leaders crested the climb, they still had their advantage nicely intact with Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) leading them over. With 80 kilometres to go the lead had increased to 7-24 and they approached the famous Col du Télégraphe. Van Aert was leading the charge up the climb, with Simon Geshcke looking to extend his lead in the King of the Mountains jersey.
With 70 kilometres to go, Pogačar was increasingly isolated at the front of the peloton. Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) had disappeared from the main group, and the Col du Télégraphe was continuing to do the damage. Riders dropped away from the breakaway leaving just 10 in front. At this point, Van der Poel threw in the towel, abandoning the race.
Jumbo-Visma’s plan revealed itself as both Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) put in a surprise attack looking to draw out Pogačar and put UAE rider under the hammer before the race hit the Galibier. Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) initially responded, although the move came to nothing major with UAE responding. Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) began to drop away along with Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) as Jumbo-Visma continued to push on.
Not satisfied with the pace, Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) got onto the front of the peloton and continued to set a fierce tempo intent on causing the remaining UAE domestiques to suffer. Roglič would try again as they summited the Télégraphe although the race leader was set on not allowing Roglič out of his sight. Roglič continued to push on as they descended towards the Col du Galibier and finally had his fellow-countryman isolated.
Roglič, Pogačar, Laporte, Vingegaard and Geraint Thomas were now clear and 6-36 behind the leading group as they rode towards the Col du Galibier. With Van Aert still up the road, Jumbo-Visma were firmly in the driving seat as the race neared its first Hors Categorie climb.
Roglič went again as Jumbo-Visma continued to work Tadej Pogačar over. The attacks kept coming but Pogačar was always able to respond.
With 50 kilometres to go to the finish line, Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) pushed on as the race leaders approached the summit of the Galibier climb. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) dropped away, although not due to Barguil’s acceleration, but due to the assault his teammates were putting UAE Emirates under. After a brief respite, Roglič would go again forcing Pogačar to chase and splitting the group again. Thomas could follow again but this time, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow.
Sensing that Roglič was beginning to tire, Pogačar attacked himself, distancing his fellow Slovenian, Kuss and Yates. Pogačar was clearly trying to isolate Vingegaard and he attacked again. The race leader had done his work and only Vingegaard could follow. Whereas 10 kilometres previously, it was the yellow jersey that was under pressure, the race had now tipped back in his favour. Meanwhile up ahead, Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) took the souvenir Henri Desgrange atop the mighty mountain.
As the race got set for an epic finale, Van Aert appeared to sit up and wait for his team leader as they reached the summit. Onto the descent, Pogacar and Vingegaard were frantically eating, hoping to sustain energy for the climb to Col du Granon. Barguil was still 4-30 ahead of the chasing group as Thomas would make it back on as the descent ramped up. Quintana was sprinting behind to join the Pogacar group too. Eventually the leader's group reached Van Aert, and Yates would also make contact.
On the descent, Van Aert had waited for Roglič and they were joined by Groupama-FDJ pair Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu. Jumbo-Visma appeared to be hoping that after some brief respite, Roglič was set to do a huge job for his team at the finish. In the valley road the Van Aert group rejoined the group led by Pogačar as the stage was reaching its conclusion. Barguil led the chasers by 5-00 as the Frenchman began to climb the Col du Granon.
Roglič instantly attacked, but it was last showing from Roglič as he would then drop away. Quintana then tried something, and with a teammate up the road the Colombian was looking good.
Quintana was making huge gains on the overall standings and with seven kilometres to go, a stage win was a real possibility. Barguil was rapidly fading up ahead on the brutal gradients. Quintana closed to 1-25 on his teammate, and the contenders were closing in too.
With four kilometres to go, Bardet and Quintana rapidly closed on Barguil. Vingegaard fired another bullet and suddenly had a gap; for the first time all day Pogačar was distanced.
Vingegaard soon caught Bardet and was tearing towards a huge career win at the Tour de France. Grimacing in pain but flying, the Dane powered straight past Quintana and led Pogačar by a minute. Bardet was second on the road as the race turned upside down.
Vingegaard showed no signs of relenting and knowing Tadej Pogačar was falling away, he continued.
Crossing the line Vingegaard screamed as he punched the air to take an unbelievable victory. Pogačar conceded more than two minutes on the Jumbo-Visma rider in an epic day of racing.
Romain Bardet also made monumental gains and would be nearly two minutes ahead of Tadej Pogačar and climbed to second place overall.
TOUR DE FRANCE STAGE 11 RESULTS
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 04-18-02
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 59s
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 1-10
4. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-38
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 02-04
6. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 02-10
7. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 02-51
8. Aleksey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Qazaqstan, at 03-38
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 03-59
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic, at 04-16
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 11
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 41-29-59
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 02-16
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 02-22
4. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-26
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 02-37
6. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 03-36
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 03-13
8. Aleksandr Vlasov Bora-Hansgrohe, at 07-23
9. Aleksey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan, at 8-07
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar, at 09-29
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1