The romantics of cycling, those who dreamed of Thibaut Pinot victorious at Hautacam, believed it a little. Emmanuel Macron, present in the race director’s car, too. Let’s say it frankly: when the Frenchman takes a stint at the foot of the final climb of the Tour de France 2022 in front of Van Aert and Martinez, it even smells downright good. But on Thursday, there was only room for the Jumbo-Vismas. So the Belgian attacked and unclasped the Frenchman, who can only bow on the line. “He left from the start, at km 0, recalled Pinot at the microphone of France TV. And when I saw him doing the train in the pass, I understood that he was having a very, very good day. I was already happy to rock with him. I did what I could. »
Same for Tadej Pogacar, and much more. Unlike the day before, the Slovenian could not count on his right arm McNulty for long, so he took matters into his own hands on the rise of the Spandelles. One attack, then another, then another. In vain. Jonas Vingegaard is never more than a wheel behind.
Vingegaard had “a lot of fun”
If it doesn’t work one way, why not try the other? So Pogi goes back on the offensive in the descent. The Dane skids but does not fall. His runner-up would have liked to say the same, it was without counting on this too wide turn and this unfortunate recovery which sent him to the mat. The scene happens in slow motion, nothing bad. Pogacar leaves in disaster, awaited by his executioner in an act of fair play that only allows infinite confidence in his abilities. The two men shake hands, the bromance is total. Sport is beautiful. Vingegaard, on France TV:
“We didn’t say anything, it’s more a question of respect, we looked at each other. We had fun. We like each other, Tadej and I, we get along well and I respect him. »
Beyond the symbolism of the fallen champion, it is nevertheless necessary to wonder if the fall is not ultimately anecdotal. Taking a step back, the Jumbo-Visma, totally absent the day before, wove the perfect trap by sending Wout Van Aert to the forefront from the real start. The Belgian was on a mission. “It was really a crazy day for me. I know I can be very strong on a good mountain day when I’m focused. Yesterday, it was good to understand that UAE was there with good goals, for me it was a sign that we had to go all the way. That’s what I told the team, that we had to go all the way together. It was the plan to go for the stage with Jonas. And with Tiesj [Benoot] and me in the breakaway, it was ideal. »
“You saw, he dropped Pogacar! »
Ideal, because when Pogacar attacks in the pack of favorites, it’s a double-edged sword. Tiring Vingegaard, yes, but what’s the point, if it’s to bring him back into the wheel of the mutant Van Aert? The sequel will prove it. In a final effort, it was the Flemish genius who crucified the double winner of the Tour before sending his leader to paradise. Vingegaard salutes the feat after the stage. “You saw, he dropped Pogacar! »
“Our sporting director told us on the radio that Pogacar was perhaps a little hard after his fall, explains Van Aert. And then today, the slopes were longer and steeper, it was better for us. »
After all, Vingegaard isn’t a polka dot jersey for nothing, even if he doesn’t seem to attach more value to it than that. “I didn’t think about it, it wasn’t a goal, but it’s a nice little bonus. “Simon Geschke, its now ex-holder, in complete perdition today, will appreciate. Until the end, friend Jonas will therefore have disgusted everyone.