Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard celebrated on the second-to-last day of the Tour de France. Pogacar pipped the defending champion to take the penultimate stage on Saturday but it won’t be enough to stop his great rival from winning the race again.
Vingegaard maintained his huge lead over two-time champion Pogacar and will surely be crowned the Tour winner after Sunday’s largely ceremonial stage ends on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“We have to be careful not to do anything stupid but, yeah, it’s amazing to take my second victory in the Tour de France and I almost cannot believe it,” Vingegaard said.
Pogacar, who won in 2020 and 2021, claimed his second stage win in the 110th edition of the Tour but was unable to make up for Vingegaard’s huge advantage built in the Alps. The Danish rider leads by 7 minutes, 29 seconds.
Pogacar attacked six kilometers before the summit of Col du Platzerwasel, followed closely by Vingegaard. They were joined by Felix Gall and later by the Yates brothers – Simon and Adam.
Pogacar attacked again with 2.9 kilometers to go. Again, Vingegaard stayed right on his wheel.
With 250 meters remaining, the Slovenian rider went again. Vingegaard got in front but Pogačar powered past to get the stage win with Gall in between.
“I really appreciate the battle I had with Tadej,” Vingegaard said.
Pogacar had been in outstanding form this year, winning nearly everywhere he raced. But the Slovenian crashed at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and needed surgery on a broken wrist. It’s hard to say how much that setback impacted his Tour de France hopes.
“Today I finally felt like myself again,” Pogacar said. “It was great to feel good again after many days suffering and to pull off a stage win.”
Giulio Ciccone celebrated being crowned the Tour’s “King of the Mountains” at Col de la Schlucht.
“We had one plan and we did a terrific job to execute it,” the Italian cyclist said. “I need to thank all my teammates. They did something crazy right from the start.”
⏪ He said he'd win, and he's only gone and done it! @TamauPogi claims the penultimate stage after a very fast final KM ⤵️
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 22, 2023