Winner in pain at the Super Planche des Belles Filles, Tadej Pogacar has not yet knocked out the Tour de France. And the Slovenian even admits to fearing his runner-up Jonas Vingegaard.
Yes, Tadej Pogacar has won a second consecutive stage in the Tour de France. But, no, the Slovenian hasn’t knocked out the race yet. If he won at the top of the Super Blanche des Belles Filles, the leader of the UAE-Team Emirates formation had to fight hard to overtake Jonas Vingegaard just a few meters from the line.
“It was a very difficult day, especially on the last climb of course, reacted the Yellow Jersey after the finish. Jonas Vingegaard attacked really hard. But I said to myself that after the work provided by my teammates all day, I had to attack to the line. This stage had been in my head for a long time, I had made it a big goal since we got to know the route. »
Vingegaard better climber than Pogacar?
After a week of racing, when there were many pitfalls, Pogacar is aerial for the moment. Impeccable on the inaugural lap, twirling on the cobbles, and untouchable upon arrival in Longwy, the Slovenian was the most impressive leader, by far. But he has not yet made the hole, since he has only 35 seconds on Vingegaard, his runner-up last year in Paris. And the Dane gave him a hard time at the Planche des Belles Filles.
“Jonas Vingegaard is a great climber, one of the best in the world and perhaps the best at the moment, confessed Pogacar. And he will of course be a rival for me, he also has a very strong team. But I feel good too. I obtained a small gain compared to him on arrival, it is already that. But that’s the bike, things can change any second. »
A big battle ahead
While the peloton has not yet approached the Alps and the Pyrenees, a big battle is looming between Pogacar and Vingegaard. Especially since if the Slovenian is an ultra-complete runner, the Dane is above all a pure climber, who could well annoy his rival. We thus remember Mont Ventoux, last year, where Pogacar, in the heat, had shown some signs of weakness against Vingegaard.
Now the only leader of the Jumbo-Visma, since Primoz Roglic fell on the cobblestones and suffered from the shoulder, Vingegaard can also draw a positive balance after the Planche des Belles Filles. “I think I can be happy. I tried at the end but Tadej Pogacar passed me twenty meters from the line and I couldn’t respond. I was really close to the finish when he passed me. It was a sudden arrival. I hope to be better on the longer climbs. Physically I was fine, I had good legs, that makes me happy. »