Metz – Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar won the sixth stage of the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey of the overall leader in what is the 7th stage win at the world’s most prestigious road cycling race for the 23-year-old defending champion.
In the longest stage of this year’s Tour, between Binche in Belgium, to Longwy in France the UAE Team Emirates rider took the lead with a brilliant sprint, finishing the stage ahead of Michael Matthews of Australia and France’s David Gaudu.
The two-time Tour de France winner had no real rival in the finishing sprint by a small brake-away group started by his compatriot Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). Pogačar jumped ahead at the right moment to leave behind Matthews, the excellent BikeExchange-Jayco sprinter.
The stage was rather uneventful after Wednesday’s chaotic cobbles stage, which cost Roglič dearly, but it was exceptionally fast from the start with no successful escape for 80 kilometres. Pogačar controlled the situation several times and Matej Mohorič made a try but unsuccessfully.
A breakaway group formed led by Wout Van Aert, the Belgian Jumbo-Visma rider who had been carrying the yellow jersey until today, but after an all out-effort he was the last to get caught by the peloton some 10 km to the finish line. The favourites then took the race under their control, getting rid of the best sprinters on the final climbs.
“Every time I win the feeling gets better. The first two hours after the start were crazy, it was tough […] I thought Van Aert would get to the finish by himself, but this time we were stronger in the peloton. I felt good on the last climb, the team put me in an excellent position,” said Pogačar after the win.
Ahead of Friday’s stage he has a four-second gap ahead of American Neilson Powless with Dane Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo-Visma in third, 31 seconds behind. Roglič advanced to 28th after dropping to 44th yesterday with a 2:27 minute lag.