Tour de France: Pogacar wins stage 17 as Vingaard holds on and Thomas fades

Geraint Thomas’ hopes of winning this Tour de France evaporated in the thin air of the Pyrenees as the blistering pace set by rivals Jonas Vingaard and Tadej Pogacar kept him at bay on the road to Peyragudes.

But on a day when the Dane and Slovenian were riding so fast it made their peers look like pedestrians, the Welsh rider fought hard to consolidate his third place overall and with a mountain stage ahead, can now start thinking about a podium in Paris. “I didn’t feel as light on the pedals as I did earlier in the race,” Thomas said. “I didn’t feel great today, but I was there.”

The 2018 champion admitted that rather than risk losing third place by chasing the relentless Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Pogacar (UAE Emirates), he rode himself over the grueling final kilometres.

“I decided to wait for the group behind, rather than trying to fight, to go into the red to get back into this group, but maybe I risk exploding and losing even more time. I saved my legs a bit and then was able to ride at a solid pace to the line.

Ahead of him, on the 16% gradients to the finish line, Pogacar and Vingaard battled it out for the stage victory, with the two-time Tour winner ahead of the race leader, but without making the time savings. significant he needed.

Result of step 17

  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 3h 25m 51s
  2. Jonas Vingeard (Jumbo-Visma) street
  3. Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) +32s
  4. Geraint Thomas (Ineos) +2m 7s
  5. Alexei Lutsenko (Astana) +2m 34s
  6. Romain Bardet (DSM) +2m 38s
  7. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +3m 27s
  8. Alexandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +3m 32s
  9. Rue Louis Meintjes (Intermarché)
  10. Nairo Quintana Street (Arkea-Samsic)

General classification

  1. Jonas Vingeard (Jumbo-Visma) 67h 53m 54s
  2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2m 18s
  3. Geraint Thomas (Ineos) +4m 56s
  4. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) +7m 53s
  5. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +7m 57s
  6. Romain Bardet (DSM) +9m 21s
  7. Louis Meintjes (Intermarché) +9m 24s
  8. Alexandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +9m 56s
  9. Adam Yates (Ineos) +14m 33s
  10. Enric Mas (Movistar) +16m 35s

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Quick Guide

Tour de France: result of stage 17 and general classification

Spectacle

Result of step 17

  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 3h 25m 51s
  2. Jonas Vingeard (Jumbo-Visma) street
  3. Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) +32s
  4. Geraint Thomas (Ineos) +2m 7s
  5. Alexei Lutsenko (Astana) +2m 34s
  6. Romain Bardet (DSM) +2m 38s
  7. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +3m 27s
  8. Alexandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +3m 32s
  9. Rue Louis Meintjes (Intermarché)
  10. Nairo Quintana Street (Arkea-Samsic)

General classification

  1. Jonas Vingeard (Jumbo-Visma) 67h 53m 54s
  2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2m 18s
  3. Geraint Thomas (Ineos) +4m 56s
  4. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) +7m 53s
  5. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +7m 57s
  6. Romain Bardet (DSM) +9m 21s
  7. Louis Meintjes (Intermarché) +9m 24s
  8. Alexandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +9m 56s
  9. Adam Yates (Ineos) +14m 33s
  10. Enric Mas (Movistar) +16m 35s

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Thomas, crossing the finish line two minutes later, finished best of the others and retained his third place overall. He is now ahead of fourth-placed Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) by almost three minutes, which, given their relative strengths in the time trial, is a gap that should not diminish between the Pyrenees and the Champs- Elysees.

Even with a depleted squad, Pogacar still put Vingaard under intense pressure. His attempt to dethrone his Danish rival began to materialize on the penultimate climb, the Col de Val-Louron Azet, where his American teammate Brandon McNulty set a record pace.

Pogacar has now lost four of his eight teammates, including mountaineering specialists George Bennett, Marc Soler and now Rafal Majka, who was unable to start Stage 17 due to injury. Despite this, he was able to count on McNulty but also on Mikkel Bjerg, a rider better known for his results in time trials than in mountaineering.

“Mikkel rode like a climber today,” Pogacar said. “He put such a good pace on the climbs, it was amazing. I felt so good at that pace, I felt confident and I know he felt confident too.

Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers crosses the finish line after stage 17 of the Tour de France.
Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers is in third place in the general classification after stage 17 of the Tour de France. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Thomas said: “I didn’t really expect that, especially from Berg. He made quite a change for the driver that he is. It makes me crack in fact, that it hurts me so much on a climb. But fair play: they really accepted it.

When asked if the performance of Berg and in particular McNulty, who saw the American leader Pogacar in the last 200 meters, was what he expected, Thomas replied: “Not at all, no. Fair play, both of them, and whatever they had for breakfast, because they were going.

On a day that started with Pogacar losing Majka, his most experienced teammate, Berg and McNulty were worth their weight in gold, if not in yellow. Their efforts were enough to crack all their main rivals apart from Vingaard, who again resisted the defending champion’s attempts to outrun him.

Behind them, approaching the final climb, Thomas teamed up with Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM) who resurfaced although the Welshman had finally taken the lead on the last stretch towards the Peyragudes altiport.

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Pogacar now has one mountain stage remaining, at the Hautacam mountain station on Thursday, to salvage more time from the race leader. If he can’t do that then it will all hinge on the final 40 kilometer time trial on Saturday, just like he did in 2020 when he usurped Vingegaard teammate Primoz Roglic to win his first Tour .

With the gap between them as it is, it seems unlikely that lightning will strike twice, although Vingaard will know not to let up. “Tomorrow there’s another chance,” Pogacar said of Thursday’s final mountain stage, “although I’m happy with what we did today. I’m still optimistic and tomorrow is another tough one. day. We’ll try again.

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