By dint of aligning the successes, moreover on all terrains which has become rare in ultra-specialized cycling, the comparison was going to end up resurfacing one day or another. Is Pogacar the new Merckx? Time will no doubt partly answer this question, but what is certain is that the Slovenian is asserting himself more and more as the boss of modern cycling, taking advantage of each stage to mark his dominance, as did the Belgian in his day. If he can win, “Pogi” will not give a gift.
We don’t say no to the yellow jersey
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“Who doesn’t want to win all the time? he questioned during the day off before calming the ardor. But I don’t see myself as a ‘Cannibal’“. However, this is the impression he leaves when he asks his team to work all day towards the Super Planche des Belles Filles and even more, Sunday, towards Châtel, when he could have relieved his training the weight of the yellow jersey. But this tunic, Pogacar respects it too much for that.”We don’t say no to the yellow jersey, it’s something specialhe explained. I hope to keep it until Paris“. Even if it means rolling his team behind the breakaway every day?
Pogacar: “We proved that we could control the race”
“Better to be a little ahead than a little behindbelieves the double title holder on the Grande Boucle. We are in a situation where we can control, and it is a little easier, for me and for the team. During yesterday’s stage, it was more a question of imposing a tempo that suited the whole team to control. We would have come back to the front of the race but they were too strong. In the final I sprinted and only Vingegaard was able to follow me and I gleaned a few seconds from the others, which is always good“. And this Tour de France is a perfect example of that.
Pogacar, nibbler rather than glutton
Since the start in Copenhagen, Pogacar has taken time from its opponents in six of the first nine stages. And this on all terrains. He had started his harvest by taking 3rd place in the inaugural time trial in Copenhagen but has gone into overdrive in the last five days: 13” on the cobblestones of Arenberg, at least 10” of bonuses during each of his two successes consecutive at Longwy and at the Super Planche des Belles Filles, 4” more bonuses at Lausanne… And on Sunday at Châtel, his sprint caused a small break behind him and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). Balance sheet? 3” gleaned from his other opponents. At the end of this first week and while the mountain is only coming, there already seems to be only the Dane to deprive Pogacar of a third consecutive crown.
The duel was sumptuous: Pogacar drew far to overtake Vingegaard at the top
Last year, Jonas Vingegaard was the only rider able to put – a little – Tadej Pogacar in difficulty, distancing him slightly in Mont Ventoux during the 11th stage. And his start to the season and to the Tour de France (2nd overall, at 39”) makes him the Slovenian’s ultimate rival for the yellow jersey. More of a climber than a Pogacar as complete as possible, the Dane will arrive on his land in the Alps this week. What to worry about the leader of UAE Team Emirates, put in difficulty by the attack of his rival at the Super Planche des Belles Filles? “Yes, Jonas really pushed very hard and there was a gap that I had to closehe says. But I managed to butcher it and win… That’s what counts, isn’t it?“However, the Slovenian remains cautious before the Alps.
The climbs so far had nothing to do with those in the Alps
“I don’t know if I’m a better climber than him, he simply admits. We have had climbs so far but they had nothing to do with what we will have on Wednesday and Thursday“. Because the program for stages 11 and 12 effectively promises mountaineering in all its splendor. On Wednesday, the Galibier and the Granon will follow one another in the final before the Galibier-Croix-de-Fer-Alpe d’Huez triptych the next day. Two terrible days and climbs that return the Super Planche des Belles Filles to the rank of stooges. “Granon and Alpe d’Huez are going to be two huge stages and we will see who is stronger thenbelieves the Slovenian. I hope I have good legs this week“. Tadej Pogacar or not, “Cannibal” or not, he will need it.
Pogacar: “Vingegaard is my main opponent”
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The debates of the Tour: Van Aert – Pogacar… who made the most impressive start to the Tour?
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Royal Van Aert, Imperial Pogacar
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