The Tour de France: Pogacar invincible

The Tour de France: Pogacar invincible

DAY

LONGWY | Knife between his teeth, Belgian Wout van Aert set off like Superman on a somewhat absurd run today at the Tour de France, but he had to give up the yellow jersey to defending champion Tadej Pogacar, who with his stage victory sends a serious warning on the eve of a mountain finish.

Attacking like a madman despite the yellow on his shoulders, did Wout van Aert really want to give up the leader's tunic or did he get caught up in his game?

Only he knows the truth, but the 27-year-old adventurer dried up his tank, mocking the peloton, before failing in 103rd place in this sixth stage, more than seven minutes behind Pogacar. However, he keeps the green jersey in points.

“I don't understand what he did,” said Quebecer Antoine Duchesne on arrival.

Panache or tactic, van Aert's answer was no more obvious. An extra day in yellow was easily within reach.

Insufficient

“It was hard for us to control. So I tried to be in the breakaway, but with three, it wasn't enough “, explained the Belgian, a little enigmatic. 

A little lost in his strategies , the Jumbo-Visma formation will now be able to focus on a final victory for Jonas Vingegaard.

Just before the first summit finish at the Super Planche des Belles Filles, Pogacar showed that he was the boss.  

“But that was not the goal,” he said.

In the longest stage of the Tour (220 km), the finish was reserved for punchers after a series of short ascents. The Côte de Pulventeux and the Côte des Religieuses skimmed the group of favorites until the Slovenian delivered the coup de grace less than 300 m from the line.

For a second consecutive day, no one could accuse the cyclists of sleeping on gas with an ultra-fast start to the stage, during which they rode at more than 52 km/h for two hours.

< strong>The Belgian persists

Wout van Aert finally managed to escape with American Quinn Simmons, the youngest cyclist in the peloton at 21 and Danish veteran Jakob Fuglsang, 37  ;years.

Seeing the failure of the adventure, Fuglsang ended up getting up, but van Aert continued the crazy adventure with Simmons, then alone until 10 kilometres from the finish in Longwy, north-eastern France.

In one of the fastest stages in history, at over 49 km/h on average, Frenchman Alexis Vuillermoz tried his luck in vain.

Explosion

In the sprint, Australian Michael Matthews took second place, ahead of Frenchman David Gaudu and Briton Thomas Pidcock.

If questions persist about Groupama-FDJ's strategy , Gaudu scored his first points.

“He is always at the forefront. He is a runner of the future. He took his time to mature. He is constantly improving and it is normal that we give him a chance,” explained his director, Marc Madiot.

“It was a very, very tough stage. It was long and very fast. The headwind has crashed and only Pogacar is exploding us by launching 250 meters. There is no reason to be ashamed of the performance,” added Gaudu.

Clear intentions

Tomorrow, the seventh stage will end at altitude at the Super Planche des Belles Filles. Already in yellow, Pogacar has made no secret of his intentions.

“We will try to control the race. It will not be a disaster if the breakaway goes to the end. But I will try to win. » 

As the Tour completes its first week, there is still a long way to go to the Champs-Élysées, but the 23-year-old Slovenian remains in full control of the situation. 

General classification 

  1. Tadej Pogacar, UAE Emirates
  2. Neilson Powless, EF Education-EasyPost, at 4 s
  3. Jonas Vingegaard, Jumbo-Visma, at 31 s
  4. Adam Yates, Ineos Grenadiers, at&nbsp ;39 s
  5. Thomas Pidcock, Ineos Grenadiers, at 40 s
  6. Geraint Thomas , Ineos Grenadiers, at 46 s 

The speed made them all suffer  

At the start of the sixth stage in Binche, Belgium, Guillaume Boivin and Michael Woods were rather calm on Thursday.

At an average speed of more than 49 km/h, Quebecers did not have time to talk to each other today between Binche, in Belgium, and the arrival in France.

“All day it's been sick. I have rarely seen a stage of 220 km in 4 h 27 min with almost 3000 m of vertical drop”, launched Guillaume Boivin grimacing.

Like many others, he wondered about the intentions of Wout van Aert who made everyone suffer.

“He had decided to give away the yellow jersey and they had to give him the option to defend it on his own . Maybe his team didn't want to ride for three weeks, but he really wanted to be in the breakaway. He attacked a million times,” added the Olympian.

Troublesome

In his second Tour de France, Boivin does not simulate. 

“ I don't know how I'm going to get to Paris. I was really not well,” he said before disappearing.

For his part, Antoine Duchesne couldn't believe the incredible speed of the race.

“It was ridiculous, science fiction. -Especially since he's just a guy who attacked for 75 milestones. I understand that he wanted to be in the breakaway, but with the layout, you get up. He was capable of winning. He wants to show that he is world champion. »

The Groupama-FDJ caribou was encouraged by the performance of his team-mate David Gaudu. 

«&nbsp ;We managed well. It bodes well with his third place. It will be a first test,” concluded Duchesne, being scolded for being outside the coach in the cooler breeze.

At Israel-Premier Tech, Hugo Houle continues to display exemplary physical condition.

” I was on a mission to take the breakaway and I put in a lot of effort, but when [Jakob] Fuglsang left, I was happy. “

Hard to beat

Despite his experience, Houle was happy to be able to put his bike away.

“ The penultimate climb, I ruled out. I have no aim in the general classification. An arrival with [Tadej] Pogacar, I don't think I'll win the stage! I chose to save myself a little. »

The high speed also tickled the Sainte-Perpétue cyclist. 

“It stung with the side wind. It warmed the legs even more. It is clear that you have to stay in the wheels at this speed. Every time you make an effort, you pay cash afterwards. Pogacar is a machine. He does what he wants. He's going to be hard to beat. ”

Finally, without revealing his ambitions, Michael Woods tested his legs well at the dawn of a stage drawn for him. The Canadian finished 20th just 5 s behind Pogacar. 

“I'm ready,” he said simply. 

In the notebook… 

  • After 220 kilometers at more than 49 km/h on average, what do cyclists do when the stage is over? A stationary bike. This allows you to make your tense legs more flexible.
  • Arrival site tomorrow, the Super Planche des Belles Filles is a summit (1148 m) of the Vosges massif in Haute- Saone. In 2019, Dylan Teuns sprinted ahead of his last breakaway companion Giulio Ciccone, who took the yellow jersey from Julian Alaphilippe.
  • The Tour only has 172 riders left with the pass< /strong> of Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies) and the abandonment of Alex Kirsch (Trek-
    Segafredo).
  • Some cyclists received a fine for not urinating quietly enough during the last two stages.