Serre Chevalier – Slovenia’s cycling star Tadej Pogačar lost the yellow jersey of the overall leader at the world’s most prestigious road cycling race on Wednesday as he finished the eleventh stage in seventh place. The 23-year-old defending champion was 2 minutes and 53 seconds behind the winner, Jonas Vingegaard from Denmark, who claimed the jersey.
The stage from Albertville to the Granon mountain pass proved too much of a challenge for Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who had to concede victory to Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
The outcome of the stage was decided on the 11-kilometres ascent to Col du Granon Serre Chevalier, with Vingegaard taking the lead a few kilometres before the finish line, while Pogačar was struggling hard in the last kilometres and fell well behind.
Vingegaard had previously mastered the Telegraphe and Galibier mountain passes well but Pogačar managed to respond to his attacks.
However, at Granon, the Danish attacked about 6 kilometres before the finish line, with Pogačar unable to respond. After losing his rhythm, he was unable to bounce back, which enabled some other competitors to overtake him as well.
“I got attacked by Team Jumbo-Visma, they played it well today. Tactically they did a really good job. In the last climb, it was difficult. But we will see tomorrow, I want revenge. Le Tour is not over!” Pogačar tweeted after the race.
Vingegaard, who finished second at last year’s Tour, was 59 seconds faster than Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) from Columbia. France’s Romain Bardet (Team DSM) was third.
Vingegaard is now 2:16 minutes ahead of Bardet overall, with Pogačar in third place, 2:22 minutes behind.
Slovenia’s other star, Primož Roglič, joined Vingegaard in his attacks on Pogačar at the Telegraphe pass but then let go and finished 11 and a half minutes behind the winner.
Vingegaard said the plan had been to make the stage as challenging as possible, as this would benefit him and Roglič. “I took a lot of time, but I wouldn’t have made it without my teammates. They were extraordinary since the start,” he said.
On Thursday, cyclists will face another challenging stage from Briancon through Galibier to Alpe d’Huez.