Tadej Pogačar once again showed his class and conquered the queen stage of this Tour de France. After a series of attacks on the final climb, the Slovenian star managed to break the resistance of his rivals at the very end and deservedly celebrated his first stage victory in a yellow jersey.
The 178.4 km long mountain stage with three categorized ascents (twice: 1st category, and the final: extra category), the first in this year’s Tour of France with a summit finish, was developing relatively calmly. The UAE Team Emirates kept dictating the pace of the peloton, and Tadej’s rivals for the overall victory remained inactive until the final ascent to the top of Col du Portet (2,215m).
Somewhere in the middle of the final ascent, Pogačar decided to go for the stage victory and attacked. Only Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz managed to follow him. The Slovenian ace attacked a few more times along the way, but he did not manage to shake off the mentioned duo. On their way to the summit finish, only Pogačar and Vingegaard were taking charge in dictating the pace, while Carapaz remained hidden in the leeward behind them. He waited for his opportunity to attack and got it 1.4km before the finish line. Carapaz launched a decisive attack, managed to drop Vingegaard, but was unable to shake off Pogačar. On the final meters, the trio reunited with Tadej launching the final sprint and victoriously crossed the finish line 3 seconds before Vingegaard and 4 seconds ahead of Carapaz.
With the prestigious victory on the toughest stage, Tadej further strengthened his position in the overall standings of this year’s Tour de France. Satisfaction after the premiere victory in the yellow jersey was obvious:
“Fantastic day! Winning a stage at the Tour de France in a yellow jersey is something that can’t be described!”
“Today the team did a great job, checking the breaks as always and allowing me to arrive as rested as possible to the final climbs. In the last 8km I tried to attack several times, but Vingegaard and Carapaz really pushed me and made me work to get this victory. With Vingegaard we understood that Carapaz would try to surprise us, so I was careful and then ready to launch the final sprint in the last 50 meters ” Tadej summarized his memorable day.
Photo: Alen Milavec, BettiniPhoto