Jonas Vingegaard soared to a crushing triumph on stage 16 of the Tour de France on Tuesday, winning the 22.4km time trial by 1min 38sec from Tadej Pogacar, who was second.
Vingegaard attacked from start to finish with a win that extended his overall lead in the Tour de France to 1min 48sec over Pogacar.
“I’m hugely proud of what I achieved today,” the defending champion said. “But the Tour de France is not finished yet, we have to fight all the way to Paris.”
Vingegaard has employed largely defensive tactics against Pogacar, who seems unable to resist his impulses when presented with a chance.
The former fish factory worker has also insisted throughout his defense campaign the Tour would not be won by a few seconds
“I knew straight away I was on a great day,” Vingegaard said. “This stage was a major part of what we planned, but not just this one.”
The margin of the win was a surprise. Ahead of the start of the stage most riders tipped Pogacar to win.
Pogacar at times appeared as white as the jersey he was wearing. He also fumbled his bike change from the aerodynamic time-trial model to a lighter climbing one at the foot of the steep Cote de Dormancy towards the end of the ride.
“There was nothing I could have done more. This isn’t finished but he took a lot of time,” Pogacar said at the finish line.
The Slovenian was blown away by Vingegaard yet was far stronger than anyone else, finishing 1min 13sec ahead of the third-place rider, Wout van Aert.
After the two were separated by just 10 seconds at the start of the day, the margin appears decisive, but Wednesday’s Queen stage tackles four huge mountains.
Wednesday’s stage from Saint Gervais Mont Blanc to Courchevel is the Queen stage of this Tour featuring both the 20km ascent of the Cormet de Roselend mountain pass and the 28km ascent of the Col de Loze to 2304m altitude.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 18, 2023