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Tadej Pogacar made countless attempts to break Jonas Vingegaard on the 18th stage of the Tour de France, but the Dane defended brilliantly.
With 4.4 kilometers left on top of the Hautacam, it was Vingegaard who would break the Pogacar. The Slovenian failed to follow Vingegaard, who came alone to the finish line to claim his second stage victory at the Tour de France.
It’s insanely raw, said Christian Bach, TV 2 commentator.
– He’ll win if nothing terrible happens in the last two stages, TV 2 bike expert Mads Kaggestad commented.
Pogacar finished just over a minute after Vingegaard.
– I suppose the round was lost, says Poojakar.
Vingegaard leads the summary with 3.26 down to Pogacar when three stages remain.
– this is unbelievable. This morning I told my girlfriend and daughter that I was going to win them and she did. I am very happy to win for them. This was for my girl at home, Vingegaard says in a Victory interview.
Geraint Thomas is third, eight minutes behind Vinggaard. David Gaudo trailed in fourth by just over three minutes.
Pogacar ended up in the ditch
After the flat stage on Friday, the rhythm stage awaits on Saturday.
Leknessund in rupture
Andreas Leknessund was in a fierce battle to get into the break on stage, and was able to sit in the right group when the breakup began. He sat nicely atop Colonel D’Obieski of the outside class, but on the slope the 23-year-old lost time on the break.
Leknessund fought at the start of the Class 1 Col de Spandelles climb, but when Wout van Aert set the pace in front of the break, the Tromsø resident had to give up.
– I was driving hard, but I made it through the break. It’s been pretty good so far, but it’s cost a little bit too much. At first I was in a group of eight people who drove hard. On the first hill I felt it was getting more and more difficult. It was a tough day, Andreas Leknessund tells TV 2.
This is where things go completely wrong
A little further up the hill the first attack came from Tadej Pogacar with seven kilometers remaining on top of the Col de Spandeles, but the yellow-clad Jonas Vinggaard sat as if attached to a Slovenian wheel. Pogacar tried again and again, but the Dane defended brilliantly.
Poojakar in the trench
It was very dramatic getting off the Col de Spandelles. At first Jonas Vinggaard was about to go down, but he stayed on two wheels. Then Tadej Pogacar ended up in the ditch, but Vingegaard chose to wait for his biggest opponent in the aggregate match.
– It’s good sportsmanship. First, it’s 2 minutes and 18 seconds ahead, and second, it’s not entirely certain that Pogacar would have done the same. It’s very elaborate. This means that he is confident in himself and that respect is important. TV 2 Cycling expert Dag Otto Lauritzen commented on the presence of the two top athletes, and it’s a rare fun ride in the Tour de France with the war between the two.
In the remains of the rags sat Wut van Aert, Thibaut Bennott and Daniel Martinez. Van Aert seemed at first reluctant to help raise the outer level of the Otakam climb, but with nine kilometers left to the summit, Van Aert came up with an attack that only Martinez could follow.
– It’s a totally unique tactic. It is difficult for many to understand. Those who consider traditional cycling styles, said Mads Kajstad, cycling expert at TV 2, think it’s about being around the yellow jersey.
Vingegaard nearly fell to the ground in the landing
With just over five kilometers left to the summit, Wut van Aert’s chance of victory was over, because from behind came Tadej Pogakar and his teammates Jonas Vinggaard and Sepp Kos, but the Belgian was ready to contribute for Vinggaard in the battle for the leader’s yellow jersey.
Van Aert fought hard for Vingegaard, and with 4.4 kilometers left to the top, Tadej Pogacar had to abandon the Jumbo-Visma duo.
Soon, van Aert relaxed, and thus Jonas Vingegaard was able to ride the bike alone to the finish at the top of the Hautacam. Pogacar reached the finish line a few minutes after the 25-year-old Danish player at Jumbo-Visma.
– I thought of the yellow shirt. I did my best on the penultimate hill, then crashed, before giving my all on the last hill, but second place was the best I could get. I did everything I could. Pogacar says after the stage: I can be proud of the result.
Friday is a flat stage, before it is a rhythm stage on Saturday.
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