The Slovenia Times

Pogačar claims yellow jersey at the Tour de France

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) puts on the yellow jersey in Bologna. Photo: Jasper Jacobs/Belga/dpa

Slovenia's star rider Tadej Pogačar put on the yellow jersey after finishing stage two of the 2024 Tour de France with two of the most likely rivals for the general classification (GC) win, Jonas Vingegaard and Remco Evenepoel.

Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Vingegaard (Team Visma-Leas a Bike), Evenepoel (Soudal Quick Step) and Richard Carapaz (EF Education-Easypost) crossed the finish line in Bologna together and now share the same time in the overall standings, with the leader's jersey going to Pogačar due to him placing better than the other two in the opening stage, which he finished fourth.

Frenchman Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-B&B Hotels) won stage 2, being a part of a strong breakaway of ten cyclists, nine of whom crossed the finish line before the GC riders.

The breakaway kept a safe distance throughout the stage, with a rather calm peloton tailing as much as nine minutes behind at one point. However, by the time the riders entered Bologna the gap had dwindled to some three minutes.

Pogačar made his attack on the final climb of the hilly circuit, with only Vingegaard being able to follow up the St Luca hill, with some 15 kilometres to go to the finish line.

The pair descended together, with Evenepoel and Carapaz chasing behind them and finally catching up just before the finish line.

Pogačar commented on the descent with Vingegaard for the public broadcaster TV Slovenija, saying it was "progress" that the Dane cooperated and took turns at the front, but still "did not cooperate as much as I would have wanted him to".

He had doubts at the end whether to fight for the yellow jersey, saying "ultimately you can't resist the yellow". He was last of the four GC riders over the finish line, not even taking part in the sprint between the other three riders, which was ultimately won by Carapaz.

While Carapaz's team did not hide their ambition to "create the ultimate dark horse" for the GC win last year, this year it is another Slovenian, Primož Roglič (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe), who is considered the most likely favourite for yellow alongside Pogačar, Vingegaard and Evenepoel.

But Roglič crossed the finish line with a gap of 21 seconds to the yellow jersey, telling TV Slovenija after the stage his legs had not been the best and he was not where he would have wished to be when Pogačar attacked on the climb.

In addition to Pogačar and Roglič, three more Slovenians are also riding in the Tour this year.

After doing a lot of work in a breakaway during the extremely hot stage yesterday, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) crossed the finish line in 89th place, 86th overall.

Meanwhile, Jan Tratnik, one of the domestiques for Vingegaard in Team Visma-Leas a Bike, finished 96th, 84th overall, and Luka Mezgec (Jayco-AlUla) was 118th, 123rd overall.


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