Defiant Pogacar promises Tour de France fight

defiant pogacar promises tour de france fight

Two time former champion Tadej Pogacar insisted the two hardest stages of the Tour de France were still to come and refused to concede defeat despite a crushing time trial setback on Tuesday.

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard ripped up the form book in the 22.4km time trial, extending his overall lead to 1min 48sec over Pogacar.

“That was the best day of my career,” said the 26-year-old Dane who rides for Jumbo Visma, whose collective efforts beat Pogacar in the 2022 Tour.

An exasperated Pogacar wore a forlorn look as he struggled to understand what had just happened to him on the key stage.

“To be honest, I was hoping to be in yellow day,” said the affable 24-year-old Slovenian.

“I gave it all,” he said shaking his head. “He took a lot of time off me but this isn’t finished.

“If tomorrow is raining, then tomorrow can go my way,” he said in the sweltering heat of the early evening.

“Its not easy to gain two minutes but we’ll try,” he said. “There are still two hard stages remaining, so its not lost yet. Maybe the two hardest.”

Vingegaard himself was also looking ahead, and with renewed confidence.

“I don’t know about tomorrow yet, but we’ll make a good plan for the coming days and keep fighting all the way to Paris,” said the slender climber.

“I cant explain why I beat him by so much, but I followed my own plan perfectly today.”

Queen stage

The ride through the Alps from Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to the ski resort of Courchevel on stage 17 is frightening.

“This is a fight for the lead in the knowledge of what is at stake, everything can be lost here,” said course designer Thierry Gouvenou.

Some 68km of climbing, with the Cormet de Roselend just short of 2,000m altitude and the 28km ascent to Courchevel topping out at 2,304m altitude, will test the pretenders to their limit.

British rider Tom Pidcock also pointed out that stage 20 on Saturday i the Vosges could turn into “all out war” in the struggle for the title

Gone is the second-last-day individual time-trial that made recent finales something of a lottery.

Instead, the final stage before Paris offers another five mountains and no let up for the leader.

The Tour will end with the traditional mass bunch sprint on the cobbled Champs Elysees on July 24 with the trophies then distributed beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

Authored by Afp via Breitbart July 18th 2023