The debates of the Tour: What did Van Aert play?  Pinot, guardian angel or sniper on the Board?

The debates of the Tour: What did Van Aert play? Pinot, guardian angel or sniper on the Board?


What did Van Aert play?

Laurent Vergne

Wout van Aert therefore lost his yellow jersey. More than any inferiority, the Belgian was the victim of circumstances and a somewhat wobbly race scenario, of which he found himself a prisoner. He got himself into this situation and couldn’t get out of it. In absolute terms, taking the breakaway was a good idea. Maybe even THE very good idea. If a blow to fifteen, ten or even six-seven runners had gone, we might even be crying genius tonight.

Tour de France

Wiggins: “The Tour is over unless there’s a crash, we’re talking about Pogacar, not Mickey Mouse”


Except that, in this very quickly twisted blow, they were only three, including Jakob Fuglsang, for whom there is still time to aim for a place in the general. The Dane therefore did not give a superfluous pedal stroke. So the question is “Why didn’t Van Aert get up?” It would have been the most logical and the most reasonable, because this breakaway had no chance of achieving its ends. Not only was the effort in vain to win the stage, but in the process, the Belgian also sacrificed his yellow jersey.

Swallowed then distanced by the peloton, Van Aert says goodbye to his yellow tunic

If he hadn’t insisted and had quietly returned to the warmth of the peloton, Wout van Aert could even have weighed on the end of the race and played for victory. It would probably even be in yellow. Quinn Simmons, the third man in the breakaway, would have found himself alone at the front and the Jumbo Visma could have kept him quietly. So, yes, it’s true, Van Aert would probably have given up his jersey on Friday at La Planche anyway. A day more or less… And he likes to run with a certain idea of ​​panache. It was beautiful. But that was anything but rational.

Julien Chesnais

The Lognwy final suited him perfectly, he was a perfect favorite for victory, but he had to take the breakaway to maximize his chances of keeping his yellow jersey. I grant you, it’s paradoxical, but few teams had an interest in controlling such a stage, and it seemed clear that Jumbo-Visma had no intention of defending the tunic of WVA, its lease in yellow being only an accessory parenthesis whose days were numbered. Whether it ends here or the next day on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, it doesn’t matter for the Yellow and Black, the objectives are elsewhere. So for Van Aert, it’s better to have fun and treat yourself, alone like a grown-up, to a little extra with your golden tunic.

The breakaway had every chance on paper of going to the end, and Van Aert therefore did everything to integrate it. He got there, congratulations to him, at the cost of a huge fight of which he was the main artificer. As Laurent says, logic would have him get up, once the certainty was acquired that the trio could not go to the end. But the Tour remains the Tour. He plunges his actors into irrationality, pushes them to act as they would do nowhere else. WVA has recognized this itself. He insisted on honoring his shirt. “I thought of enjoying my last day in yellow and giving something to the public. ” He was not disappointed. Even if it was hard to follow.

The PR debate: “Did Van Aert mess up?”

Will Pogacar give a layer to the Board?

Julien Chesnais

The Super Planche des Belles Filles (7km at 8.7%) is very suitable for Pogacar. It corresponds to his favorite effort range (about twenty minutes) and these high percentages will allow him to make the difference more easily, if he so decides. Given his current form, the Slovenian therefore has a great opportunity here to establish his supremacy for good on this Tour, after the first blows unleashed on the cobbled road of Arenberg and the punchy final of Longwy.

Pogacar: “I had good legs on the last climb, the yellow jersey is a bonus”

Still there would have to be a frank fight. The Vosges climb is so scary with its final ramp at 24% that it had delayed the start of hostilities until the red flame in 2019. I’m afraid the story is mumbling. Who will want to attack upstream at the risk of being countered by Pogacar? INEOS and Jumbo-Visma could be tempted to let the storm pass, wait for better days to detect a possible crack in the Slovenian and attempt a move.

So I’m not expecting any real fireworks from the side of the favourites. Rather a race of waiting where the selection is carried out by the back. Pogacar may scratch new seconds. But by attacking on the last ramp, not 5km from the finish. In any case, it will not be up to him to discover himself first.

Laurent Vergne

A good big knife stroke on the cobblestones on Wednesday. A good dose of punch (and sprint) Thursday in Longwy. And now, the transition to climber mode at the Planche des Belles Filles? If no ground puts him off, Tadej Pogacar will find the one he loves the most on Friday. Not a real mountain stage, but a difficult, selective climb, as he likes them.

Now that he has the yellow jersey, perhaps earlier than he had imagined, the double title holder can obviously play a form of waiting race and behave as a manager. It wouldn’t be absurd, but we saw it again on Thursday in the final towards Longwy: it’s not the style of the house. When he feels strong, the (very) strong man of Team UAE Emirates never hesitates to place one or two starts of which he has the secret.

A lightning sprint and Pogacar takes power: the finish of the 6th stage

Especially since Pogacar, if he has already taken a substantial lead over several of his opponents, only has a margin of around thirty seconds over Jonas Vingegaard, his dolphin in 2021. He likes to take advantage of every opportunity. If news comes up on Friday in the Vosges station, he will probably not hesitate to make it bear fruit. This does not mean that he will snap to the foot of the board. But that he could end up on the floor in the last hectometres. History to give a layer, yes.

Pinot, guardian angel or maverick?

Laurent Vergne

The roles have been clearly defined at Groupama-FDJ: one leader, one. His name is David Gaudu. The goal admitted by Marc Madiot is to bring the Breton climber to the podium in Paris. To achieve this, the manager relies in particular on Thibaut Pinot. The latter said he was ready to take on a role “guardian angel“, in his own words.

After six stages, and as the first ascent worthy of the name looms on Friday with the Planche des Belles Filles (1st category), Gaudu is in an almost ideal position overall. So the plan is going off without a hitch so far. At La Planche, Pinot is perhaps the one Gaudu will need the most. If he is allowed to play his card by taking the breakaway to seek the stage victory (personally, his avowed objective), it would in a way be a paradoxical message sent by the team to its designated leader .

Pinot and the Tour, ten years of roller coasters

However, the hypothesis is probable: Pinot is at home, in Franche-Comté, the five letters of his name will be displayed by the dozens on the road, he knows the climb like the back of his hand (even if he doesn’t he hasn’t been successful on the Tour often), and he will undoubtedly have ants in his legs. It is, logically, the day to go there. Except that it is also the first moment when David Gaudu could need his guardian angel. That said, yes, it’s a dry, steep but short climb, and from what he has shown in recent days, the Breton is undoubtedly capable of managing on his own. But Groupama’s strategy will be interesting to observe, and potentially revealing.

Julien Chesnais

No need to pass the peloton to the “motivometer”. Thibaut Pinot will certainly be the most transcended at the start of Tomblaine. La Planche des Belles Filles is his ascent. It is 20 terminals from his home, in Mélisey, he has climbed it regularly for twenty years. The Franc-Comtois returned to the Tour for the stages. And if there is one in the viewfinder, it is this one.

The profile of the 7th stage: A Super Board not to be missed

He must certainly put on his guardian angel costume for David Gaudu, now that the mountain is about to begin. But I wonder what added value it could bring to the Breton given the profile of the stage. There is no notable difficulty before the Board, and everything will come down to a hill climb of about twenty minutes where the tempo will be provided by others, Jumbo-Visma, UAE Emirates or INEOS. It will be a matter of legs, not team members.

With riders like Kung, Madouas or Storer at his side, Gaudu can completely do without Pinot on this 7th stage. I expect Groupama-FDJ to leave him total freedom for his favorite leg. And basically, although he’s not the designated leader, I can’t imagine Pinot being held on a leash against his will. Especially in a team where everything has long revolved around him. Moreover, the former stage winner in Alpe d’Huez and Tourmalet may already have started preparing for Friday. Coincidence or not, he lost time in the Longwy final and now finds himself five minutes overall. The peloton will also be able to give him the freedom to slip away in a breakaway.

Tour de France

Gaudu, head on the podium and feet on the ground


Tour de France

The joy just after the finish then the explanation with Majka: We board with Pogacar


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