22 kilometers from Combloux, Jonas Vingegaard dealt a stern blow to rival Tadej Pogacar. Last week’s game of seconds is over now that Vingegaard has led by nearly two minutes. His second Tour victory looms.
Everyone at End Street is wearing a Jumbo-Visma jersey looking on, but no one seems to know exactly what. riders, team leaders, and caretakers; They huddle like wasps in a nest that someone has poked with a stick.
Team leader Richard Plug is stopped by security and then waits for a little orphan. Jonas Vingegaard hangs over the handlebars of his bike a hundred meters away, just across the finish line. He just made progress to his second Tour win with scorching climbing experience.
What happens a little later? Vingegaard has no idea and before he knows it, he’s already been led behind the stage.
Wout van Aert, meanwhile, is just coming off that platform. He’s on his way to the jumbo cart at the end of the street. Van Aert – himself third with a time of almost three minutes – told French journalists that he’unbelievable‘ He is.
Seb Koss has just recovered from his stint and is being cheered on by the American fans as if he had won the Tour. Matthew Hegboer, the head performer who this time dissected the experience with surgical precision, continues the ups and downs. He still had a helmet visor in his hands at the time of the COS trial. When the car arrived with team leaders Grischa Niermann and Frans Maassen, the Heijboers’ joy was finally free of the drawn-out whoop.
It’s chaos on the Megève avenue in the Complexe. The jumbo hornet’s nest has been disturbed and the yellow-shirted queen has been separated from her colony on her way to the platform.
The duel between Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar ended in this round, last week centered on the game of seconds. From the start in Bilbao, the two had nothing but eyes for each other. On the day Vingegaard rode by himself – for the first time without Pogacar, who had started two minutes earlier – in his lap – he beats mercilessly. Vingegaard’s lead, which had been ten seconds after fifteen stages, became nearly two minutes from 22 kilometers into Combloux.
No one at Jumbo-Visma – not even Vingegaard himself – expected this pass. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Heijboer, who had been preparing for the day with Vingegaard for months. “After three kilometers he already had 11 seconds. This is an indication and then you can already say that he will be fine, because Jonas will not stop. But now the difference is unimaginable. I also thought in advance that we would lose a minute. All this was possible, but I did not have this in my scenarios. I dare not say it, but this may be the decision in the Tour. ”
An unprecedented day
Ten minutes later, Vingegaard was on the podium for the first time in this Tour as the stage winner. After that he must return again to his yellow jersey. Outwardly unemotional and no different from the previous ten stages when it was also raised in yellow. But of course Vingegaard realizes that this was an unprecedented day. Along the way he already felt that these kilometers could be the decision in the Tour.
“It was one of the best days of my life ever on the bike. I even doubted if my power meter was working. I left better values than I thought. I never got the time differences from the car, so not now either. But I knew it was going really well. I once saw split times on a screen along the way. Once I saw a Pogacar driving in front of me. Something like that naturally gives a lot of faith and motivation to keep going through the pain. I’m very proud of this achievement. We worked towards this day for a while long and that’s the reward.”
With just over 770km to go to Paris, this edition of the Tour appears to have decided. In the UAE, Team Tadej Pogacar, they know that tomorrow on the most difficult mountain stage of the Tour, to Courchevel, they can do nothing but attack.
It is precisely the stage of the Col de la Loze climb that Vingegaard and his team have always described as Pogacar’s breaking moment. Anyone who has listened carefully to Grischa Niermann, captain of the Jumbo-Visma team, knows those plans haven’t changed. Not even now that Vingegaard has led nearly two minutes. “It’s a stage that suits Jonas really well. This is an opportunity.”
In the first 2,600km of this year’s Tour de France, Jonas Vinggaard and Tadezh Pogacar balanced each other out in a unique battle. Jumbo-Visma’s tactics were intended to tire Pogacar from the start. Push him to the limit every day to make his attacks lose their power. When the moment came, Vingegaard had to try to strike.
However, no one took into account that that would happen in Tuesday’s trial. “A very nice surprise and we didn’t expect it at all. He had a fantastic day. We have no idea why Jonas has improved so much today,” said Sporting Director Grisha Nierman.
On the UAE team, they state that Pogacar drove his time trial right. Niermann believes it right away and points to the 2020 Tour. “We also had that once with Primose and then we traveled a couple of minutes faster. Now it’s the other way around.”
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