On a tough first three days in the Pyrenees, Tadej Pojaccar tried to put the yellow jersey under pressure. But Hugo Hall was a sentimentalist who ran off with the stage winner.
After losing more than two minutes to Dane Jonas Weinggaard in the Alps, Pojaccar promised fireworks and a fight to the door when the next mountain range would be next.
The double champion kept his promise, but his Danish opponent brilliantly defended. In the end, the fencers crossed the finish line evenly, barely six minutes behind Canadian stage winner Hugo Hall.
The 31-year-old has claimed the Canadian win on the Tour since 1988, and his second overall. On the finish line, Hall pointed to the sky, and after finishing consecrated victory:
– I managed it and it means a lot to me. I had one dream – to win a stage for my brother who passed away when I turned pro. This is his. I worked for this for 10-12 years and today I got my victory for it. It’s amazing, I don’t know what to say.
His brother Beric was killed after he was hit by a drunk driver while jogging just before Christmas in 2012. Hugo went looking for his brother when he didn’t come home, and found his brother lying on the side of the road.
The stage winner Hall joined the break from the start of the stage and eventually struggled away from the rest of the break buddies and went to the last hill with an access slot to the chasers.
– In the end I did everything I could, I struggled really hard on the steep parts, but I showed that if I get over the top in 30-40 seconds I can do it. It got crowded, but I never gave up. And when they showed me the distance was a minute near the end, I thought: Unreal, I’ll do it, says Hall.
In the fight for the yellow jersey, he did not stand on attempts. Here’s how it went:
In the first class Port de Lers, the first of a total of two first classes within the last six miles, the Slovenian started his cannonball of attacks.
At first he got a small slot, but Vingegaard stepped up and entered the race. On the other hand, Vingegaard was awake and didn’t give an inch. On the third, over the top of the hill, the same. Thus, Pogacar calmed down on the descent and it was a generally preferred group that was thrust into the ordeal of the last stage: the Mur de Péguère.
At the bottom of the 9.3-kilometer hill, with sections rising 18 percent towards the top, Pojákár put his assistant Rafal Majka at the front. The 32-year-old Pole was driving steadily hard and was disqualified by a number of tough guys, before a technical accident meant he had to stop suddenly.
Then Jumbo-Visma sent American Sepp Kuss forward and the speed increased even more. Only Pogacar, Vingegaard, and Nairo Quintana were able to follow through.
Vingegaard looks as solid as it can do in Week Three of the Grand Tour, Theis Magelssen comments on the Discovery+ broadcast.
Perhaps it was Dane’s stone face that made Pogacar reconsider any plans, because the Slovenian was on wheels all the way and there was no attack on the yellow jersey.
Thus, it is still Vingegaard who leads the Tour de France with a total of 2 minutes 22 seconds to Pogacar.
At the same time, it became clear after the stage that Pogacar would lose another assistant. Mark Soller did not meet the deadline and therefore will not start stage seventeen. The Spaniard had stomach problems and vomited along the way. He had to drop the field by more than 100 kilometers to the end.
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