The Slovenia Times

Pogačar comes back to win penultimate stage of Tour


Tadej Pogačar won stage 20 in the Tour de France on 22 July to come out on top after a week that cost him the third title and included, as he put it, one of the worst days of his life on the bike. Dane Jonas Vingegaard will arrive in Paris in yellow, and Pogačar is set to finish second since tomorrow's stage is just a procession ride.

Pogačar (UAE Emirates) made an attempt to break away from Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) on the last climb, but could not drop the yellow jersey leader.

Following a lead-out by his British teammate Adam Yates, the Slovenian then out-sprinted the Dane, who eventually finished third, after Austria's Felix Gall (AG2R Citroen).

This makes it a second Tour victory in a row for Slovenian riders following Matej Mohorič's win on stage 19, and 17 stage wins altogether since Primož Roglič took the first one at Serre-Chevalier in 2017.

Pogačar has now recorded 11 stage wins himself. He bagged two victories this year, having also won stage 6.

Tomorrow, he is to win his fourth white jersey in a row, a feat that puts him well above all the other Tour de France riders aged below 25 as he will be the first to achieve this.

In the general classification, he is to finish second, same as last year, while Vingegaard will celebrate his second consecutive title, having around seven and a half minutes on him. Adam Yates will join them on the podium, having finished third, just ahead his twin brother Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla).

Until the very last week of this year's Tour, Pogačar and Vingegaard's rivalry was making headlines, with the two riders being in the class of their own, and even former cycling stars and experts were not able to predict the outcome of their race.

All changed in the 18 July time trial stage where the Vingegaard crushed everyone else, including Pogačar, who then imploded on the following stage, during a brutal climb on the Col de la Loze. "I'm gone. I'm dead," he told his team in what are now his famous words of throwing in the towel.

Pogi, as he has been dubbed by his fans, told TV Slovenija that he felt he was himself again right before stage 20. He enjoyed every second of the 133.5 km route from Belfort to Le Markstein, and the win was a cherry on top of that. "I was again like a kid on the bike," he added with his signature smile back in place.

Fans and pundits are now hopeful that being back on form, he will compete at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow in the first half of August.


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