“We have a strong team and we will try to control the racehe advanced after his success as a quasi-sprinter in Lorraine. It won’t be a disaster if the break goes to the end on Friday but I will try to win” Tadej tried and since he is what he is, he succeeded at La Planche des Belles Filles. That day, everyone had put on the back of a fierce desire to triumph over a special place to him (2020…), the fact that he made his team work throughout the stage. And this weekend?
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Uran, a threat to Pogacar, really?
Saturday like Sunday, in Lausanne as in Châtel, the day seemed promised to breakaways and why not to the abandonment, very punctual, of the yellow jersey. It was nothing in front of the Olympic stadium, where Pogacar even garnered four seconds of bonuses. No more at the Portes du Soleil on the eve of the rest day. However, this time the breakaway went all the way. But UAE ensured that the dangerous man to the general who was there, Rigoberto Uran (+3’24” at the start), was precisely not a threat.
“I was very surprised by what UAE didexplains Adam Blythe, former professional runner and consultant for Eurosport. They could have let the break take five minutes, lower the gap to one minute and thirty seconds and give the jersey to Uran.” Same story for Robbie McEwen. The man with 12 Tour successes and three green jerseys, did not see the Colombian as a very significant long-term threat: “They could have driven more quietly today. Even if Uran was a minute and a half early, it wouldn’t matter at all..”
A lightning sprint and Pogacar takes power: the finish of the 6th stage
An argument that hits home for Blythe: “When Pogacar accelerates, he will get rid of Uran. At the precise moment when he wants it. Step back and let EF control for a few days“, he even offers to the UAE. The Emirati team therefore did not choose this path. Even deprived of Vegard Stake Laengen and with men who show signs of weakness (Hirschi, Soler…), the team doesn’t want to let anyone have the keys to the race.”There are a few people who think the team will pay for these efforts“, judged McEwen.
There are no written rules, he is a competitor. He is like Wout van Aert
What does the main interested party say? “The team is very forte, smiles Pogacar. Each of them has shown that they are improving every day. The last two were proof that you could control the race even at seven without Vegard. I know it will be difficult, especially for Mikkel Bjerg but he is very good, and the others too.” So all this would be a simple “communication” operation to prove to others that UAE has confidence in it? Perhaps. Above all, it owes a lot to the temperament of the leader.
In front of Cancellara at the end of the Tour?
Two days in yellow in 2020 after his La Planche putsch, fourteen in 2021 after the assault on Grand-Bornand and how many in 2022 after the Longwy pike? If Tadej Pogacar keeps his promise and his legs resist, he will wear the yellow tunic for sixteen days, bringing his total to 32. A figure that would put him ahead of Fabian Cancellara (29) and would already place him at the gates of the Top 10 (11th ) with Bottecchia, Bobet (34), Leducq (35), Frantz, Thys (37) and Magne (38) in the sights for 2023.
La Planche 2020: the advent of Pogacar, the collapse of Roglic
Above, there would then only be the legends, quadruple (Froome) and five-time winners (Merckx, Hinault, Indurain and Anquetil). But Tadej Pogacar is not there yet. He must first prove that his strategy is not too risky and/or that he is above everyone else enough to care.
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