Le Grand-Bornand, France — Tadej Pogačar shook his head and grinned, blonde hair smoothed with sweat and rain, cheeks pale with the cold of the mountains, and remained at the Tour de France. It took a huge effort to crush his rivals.
The defending champion seemed to surprise himself when he cooled down on an exercise bike.
“Oh, what a vehicle, what a day,” he said, unable to wipe a happy smile from his face.
On the first day of Saturday’s tour in the Alps, Pogačar had a depressing blow. A precocious cycling star insisted on a yellow jersey after a tough eighth stage for everyone else.
Pogačar started the day 3 minutes and 43 seconds behind Mathieu van der Paul’s lead. Almost four hours after the five passes, Van der Pol slowed down for more than 20 minutes. The Dutch abandoned the lead they had held for six days when they declined rapidly in the middle of a brutal stage.
Wout van Aert remained in second place, but fell from 30 seconds behind the start of the stage to 1 minute behind Pogačar’s 48 seconds.
Richard Carapaz finished more than three minutes behind Pogačar and retreated to 5 minutes overall in 6th place.
Pogačar once again proved that he was one step ahead of the other players on the most demanding climbs before consolidating his bid to maintain the tour title. He set out on his own on his fourth climb, stripping off Carapaz, the last man and potential candidate.
Pogačar finished fourth on the 151 km (94 mile) route from Oyona to Le Grand-Bornand, a few seconds behind stage winner Dylan Teuns.
The Belgian rider of the Bahrain team, Toons, managed to lead the hard-push Pogačar slightly at the final peak before negotiating a tricky descent to the finish line.
Almost all fields suffered from rain and cold rises, but Pogačar saw the opportunity to change the race head-on.
“In the end, I felt good, so before the last two climbs, I told my teammates,’Let’s rock the race,'” Pogačar said.
Shake it? He crushed it.
On Sunday, riders will face their second day in the Alps, riding 145 km (90 miles) on four passes before the end of the summit in Tignes. But given the gap, even the top teams may be focusing on stage wins and the second and third spots on the podium.
After the crash-filled opening week and Friday’s 249 kilometers (155 miles) of marathon transport, Proton was ill to hold up in the mountains. The longest stage of the 21-year tour ran out of everything except a handful of riders.
And more pain awaited.
As a precursor to future events, some cyclists were already struggling from the beginning. A short rise under stable rainfall towards the alpine forest broke the puck little by little.
Geraint Thomas, the winner of the 2018 tour, quickly fell behind. Primož Roglič followed immediately and his Jumbo Bissouma team sadly left last year’s runner-up alone. Pre-race title applicants who fell in the first week were completely disconnected even before the start of a serious rise.
Pogačar timed the catastrophic attack up to Category 1 Corderonme.
Pogačar rode high, lifted the seat and chased the detached rider while the other riders were hanging on the handlebars.
Pogačar, who showed that he didn’t need much help from the Emirates team, ran the last 30 kilometers across categories. I ran all the Colombier Pass by myself.
Pogačar surprised Logrich on the second day of the race and overtook his fellow compatriots in a fierce time trial last year at the age of 21, becoming the youngest champion after World War II. Was built.
His exhibits at the Colombier Pass and the Colombier Pass are ready to be remembered as the decisive moments of this edition, except for the dramatic changes in fate.