Tadej Pogačar is back with a bang as the UAE Team Emirates star won stage 6 of the Tour de France on 7th July, Thursday. He walked off with the Yellow Jersey, leaving behind a staggered Wout Van Aert. He has so far been the most consistent and robust contender at the Tour.
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Furthermore, he took a 4-second lead over Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) at the Super Planche des Belles Filles and a whole 27-second lead over Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). Vingegaard was the real rival for the Slovenian today.
Although Van aert tried his best to defend the yellow jersey He overtook Jakob Fuglsang (Israel–Premier Tech) and Quinn Simmons (Trek–Segafredo) to take the lead with just 24 km behind the finish line, but, his dreams of another victory came crashing down as he finished 7 minutes 30 seconds after the winner Tadej Pogačar. Reflecting on the days, event Van Aert commented:
At some point, we finally managed to open up a gap, and then we’re only with three, so that was a little bit of a disappointment.
He showed full sports-man spirit, even after losing their jersey, he tried to enjoy the ride:
Then I thought, okay, I’m just going to try it and enjoy myself. And if it doesn’t work, then it’s a nice way to honor the jersey on my last day in it
Tadej Pogačar was waiting for Super Planche, but he saw the chance and took it. Commenting on his today’s win, he said:
I wait for Planche, It’s just that I go with the flow. Today here the team believed in me. It was a nice opportunity, and I’m super happy to take the win today. But for sure, I did not imagine it before the start.
This is the 17th yellow jersey for the 23-year-old and 7th stage win at the Tour. The jumbo-Visma decided to send out Wout Van Aert upfront to try to hold on to his yellow jersey. But Pogačar worked out their strategy and took them by surprise quite easily. He said:
I think I know what they wanted to do, If Van Aert wanted to win the stage today, they would need to pull from the peloton, I think, and he decided to try to break away
Nevertheless, breaking away was no easy task. Talking about the upcoming Super Planche challenge, the first major climb of the race on Friday, Tadej Pogačar showed confidence and spoke as if he is all ready to face the challenge:
Tomorrow is Super Planche and for sure we want to be at the front tomorrow and go for the stage also because it’s a really important stage
The 23-year-old awaits the race impatiently, as his family and girlfriend will also be among the spectators. His love for the climb was evident when he spoke:
I really like the climb. I have really nice memories, but it’s going to be even more special because my family will be there. My girlfriend will be at the top and I just cannot wait to go there
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He plans to give his best on the 8th of July’s stage:
If we cannot try to go for the stage, but I would like to go for it and try my best
How it happened
I think it’s going to be an unexpected race today
Calling the events of the day “unexpected” will be an understatement because we have seen the form of Tadej Pogačar and winning, for him, was only a question of when?
Van Aert went into the race at full speed, and Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) followed him. It made it difficult for Van Aert to break away, but he enjoyed his ride.
Van Aert, Fuglsang, and Simmons fought head to head, but Aert and Simmons maintained the lead with 2 minutes on the last 50 km. EF Education-EasyPost, Alpecin-Deceuninck, and Bora-Hansgrohe then led with combined effort, but they could not brush off Van Aert. With just 30 km to the finish line, Van Aert managed to steer clear of Simmons also.
Even though Van Aert maintained an advantage of 30 seconds, it was not difficult for Pogačar to take him down. With just 11 km to the finish line, Pogacar sprang into action and took his first summit finish and the yellow jersey altogether in a single shot.
|UAE Team Emirates
Featured Image Via YouTube/ FloBikes