An aggressive ride from Jonas Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma team has given him the Tour de France yellow jersey, but they couldn’t stop rival Tadej Pogačar taking the stage and putting time into the defending champion.
Jumbo rode the climbs aggressively and attacked towards the top of the Tourmalet, swiftly dropping the yellow jersey wearer Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe). That left just Vingegaard and Pogačar as the GC riders out front.
Having joined up with team-mate Wout van Aert, who was in the day’s early break they rode hard up the opening slopes of the final climb. Towards the top where the gradients were steepest Vingegaard attacked and only Pogačar could go with him.
However, after the Dane set tempo for a few kilometers the Slovenian launched a stinging counter-attack and put 28 seconds, including bonuses, into Vingegaard.
Vingegaard now leads the race by just 25 seconds to Pogačar, the slovenian having nearly halved the deficit he conceded on the previous days’ race through the Pyrenees.
Asked at the finish if it was nice to get revenge Pogačar said: “I would not say revenge but it was sweet to win today and take some time back. I feel a little bit relieved.
The UAE Emirates captain added: “The display Jonas showed yesterday was incredible and when the started pulling on the Tourmalet [today I was thinking that if it went like yesterday we may as well pack our bags and go home.
“But luckily I had good legs and I could follow quite comfortably on the Tourmalet and in the end when I attacked it was a big relief.”
He said the gap to Vingegaard was “almost perfect” and that he anticipated a big battle between the two GC heavyweights until the final stage.
Pogačar has now won ten stages and joked, “I’m coming for you Mark [Cavendish].” He dedicated this win to his fiancé Urška Žigart, who is also a pro rider and crashed out of the Giro Donne earlier in the week. She has been suffering with concussion.
“She gave me all the power today,” he said.
How it happened
A sizable break of around 20 riders went up the road early on as Wout van Aert attacked from the flag drop.
Bora Hansgrohe, looking after yellow jersey leader Jai Hindley did most of the work in the peloton over the race’s opening stages.
However, towards the top of the first of the day’s three climbs the Col d’Aspin Jumbo-Visma came to the front and began to push the pace slowly eating into the breaks advantage.
At the front of the race Neilson Powless launched from the break over the top of the climb to give himself a lead in the KOM competition once again.
Bora-Hansgrohe re-established control of the peloton at the bottom of the Tourmalet but half-way up the climb Jumbo-Visma once again came to the front and began to push the pace. At the same time Wout van Aert went to the front of the break and pushed the pace there too.
With about 4km to go to the top of the Col du Tourmalet there was a sharp acceleration from Vingegaard’s team-mates. Only Tadej Pogačar and Hindley could follow but the Australian could not hold on and was soon dropped.
The GC leaders bridged up to van Aert from the break and caught what was left of that group on the descent.
The Belgian rouleur drove the pace all the way until half-way up the climb when Vingegaard attacked. He was joined by Pogačar and Michal Kwiatkowski, the lone survivor from the day’s break at that point. But the Ineos Grenadiers rider fell away and with just over two kilometers to go Pogačar launched a blistering acceleration and continued to extend his lead all the way to the line.
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