Tadej Pogačar: 'Taking eight seconds back was victory in battle for Tour de France yellow'

UAE-Team Emirates say that Pogačar has not yet reached his best form

Tadej Pogačar
(Image credit: Getty)

Tadej Pogačar moved ever close to the yellow jersey in the Tour de France on stage 13, celebrating chipping eight further seconds off Jonas Vingegaard’s lead.

The Slovenian attacked in the final kilometre on the Grand Colombier and crossed the line four seconds ahead of his Jumbo-Visma rival. In finishing third, he also collected four bonus seconds.

Although Pogačar and his UAE-Team Emirates team had wanted to win the stage, a feat they did not manage with Ineos Grenadiers’ Michal Kwiatkowski triumphing despite UAE working on the front of the peloton all day, Pogačar was in buoyant mood after reducing his gap to Vingegaard in the overall standings to just nine seconds.

“We can take confidence and motivation from today, even if we can’t take the victory,” he said afterwards. “It was victory in the battle for the yellow jersey. For sure we can take big confidence from today.

“The Tour is still long but it’s a good situation for us. We go day by day and try to look for these kind of opportunities to take some seconds.

“It would have been nice to have a win but hats off to the breakaway and to Michal Kwiatkowski - he was super strong. In the end it was a successful day for us as well and to take eight seconds back is a good day.”

The weekend in the Alps continues with a descent into Morzine on Saturday and then a summit finish into Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc on Sunday.

UAE’s manager Joxean Fernández Matxín said: “The position we are in is eight seconds less, we are behind in the GC by nine seconds, the momentum is positive and each day is a bit better. I think these eight seconds are psychologically important and they are a confirmation of the Puy de Dôme [in which Pogačar gained eight seconds].

“The idea was to win the stage but we didn’t want to lose all of our riders for that [objective]. What interests us is the fight between Tadej and Vingegaard, but it’s true that our idea was to control [the stage] in the maximum possible way to try and win the stage.”

Asked if this was Pogačar’s best form, Matxín responded: “Surely not. I’m not a physiologist but each day he’s taking a few seconds and he’s getting a little bit better every day.

“Nothing surprises me with the form of Tadej - he’s the number one cyclist in the world.”

Much was made about UAE’s decision to work so hard on the front all day, but they were the only GC team with so many riders in the main group on the slopes of the Grand Colombier. “There were 17 riders, the best riders in the WorldTour, and to have five of our team among them is really satisfying,” Matxín added.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.