The fact of the day
Tour de France
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Tadej Pogacar has corrected an anomaly in the general classification at the top of Alpe d’Huez. By gleaning 19 seconds from Romain Bardet, he regained second place overall. The figures thus confirm what everyone knows and sees on the road: the winner of the Tour, barring a fall or illness, will be Jonas Vingegaard or Tadej Pogacar. Of course Geraint Thomas finished at the same time as the two duettists, yes Enric Mas climbed Alpe d’Huez alongside them for a long time. But when the second attacked, there was only one in the wheel.
Pidcock at the top, Froome 3rd, Pogacar-Vingegaard wheel to wheel: the finish of the 12th stage
If Tadej Pogacar had taken a huge uppercut in the Col du Granon, almost leaving him completely knocked out, he did not return it a hundredfold, far from it. His first offensive, rather short and not very explosive, made you think that he was far, far from the best version of himself. The second, in the last significant percentages of Alpe d’Huez, was sharper. She might even have put Jonas Vingegaard, who sat down faster than him, in trouble.
We will never know if “Pogi” could have taken a little more time on this affair, but we know on the other hand that he will offer rivalry to a Vingegaard who, even with more than two minutes ahead of him, is probably not quiet. After all, the Pyrenees are the favorite playground of Pogacar who has already won three stage successes there between 2020 and 2021. No, the Tour is not over.
The big loser: Nairo Quintana
Nairo Quintana did not explode on the slopes of Alpe d’Huez but after his superb ascent of the Granon on Wednesday, the Colombian was no doubt hoping to be able to do it again on a stage which passed two more times above 2,000 meters altitude. At the top, he conceded 1’21” on Pogacar, Vingegaard and Thomas. Of the first seven in the general classification, he made the worst climb, Gaudu having even taken 27 seconds from him.
Olympic mountain bike champion in Tokyo, cyclo-cross world champion at the start of the season, Tom Pidcock is an artist on the bike. The kid from Ineos Grenadiers has a lot of strings to his bow and the art of downhill is one of them. It was in this exercise, in the Galibier, that he laid the first stone of his victory. By coming back to the lead and taking more than four minutes from the peloton, Pidcock had done a lot of the work. And besides, it’s beautiful to see.
Louvel and Froome overwhelmed: Pidcock, an aesthete in action on the descent of the Galibier
Review the incomparable style of Chris Froome at the front on the Tour de France. The Briton achieved his best performance since his terrible fall in the 2019 Dauphiné. He did not win but he tried and “gave everything”. If you were wondering, what still drives him, here’s the answer: passion.
Tadej Pogacar’s two attacks. Not that we support the Slovenian in his duel against Jonas Vingegaard, but it is rather the interest of the Tour 2022 that concerns us here. Moreover, on the contrary, if the double defending champion had taken two minutes from his Danish opponent, we would not have been more satisfied.
The atmosphere in Alpe d’Huez. If some still manifested themselves through dangerous behavior, the vast majority of the public remained in the nails and the alpine climb was still sublime from this point of view.
We didn’t like
Not seeing Thibaut Pinot in the breakaway of the day. It quickly became obvious that it was going to be a victory and without disrespecting the riders present, the Franc-Comtois probably had what it took in his legs to at least play with Pidcock. He may have missed a golden opportunity.
The relative absence of a show this Thursday. On paper, this 12th stage had everything to be the most beautiful of the Tour with three hors-category and the most significant elevation gain of the three weeks. Obviously, facing the day of Wednesday, it seems very pale but we cannot ask the runners to embark on attacks of 50, 60 or 70 kilometers every day.
The statement: Romain Bardet
I had a stroke of heat in Alpe d’Huez, I started to have chills. I had stiff legs after yesterday, but above all it was very, very hot today. I had to drag a bit to get to my destination.
Three stats to remember
5. Anthony Perez (Cofidis) crossed the summit of Galibier on Thursday in the lead, like Warren Barguil the day before. Since the Second World War, they are only the fourth and fifth French riders to pass the giant of the Alps first. Lucien Tessières (1948), Pascal Hervé (2000) and Rémy Di Gregorio (2008) were ahead of them. But this double in the space of twenty-four hours is therefore a small event.
3. A victory for Chris Froome would have been the great story of the day. The former quadruple winner fell on stronger than him with Tom Pidcock and Louis Meintjes but his 3rd place at the top of Alpe d’Huez is quite simply his best result at the top of the legendary climb. He finished 7th in 2013, 5th in 2015 and 4th in 2018.
3. Geraint Thomas 3rd. Adam Yates 6th. Tom Pidcock 8th. The Ineos Grenadiers team undoubtedly lacks a super crack above the lot to add a new yellow jersey to their list this year, but the British formation have a major trio which testifies to their collective quality. Three riders in the top eight in the general classification after the mid-Tour is even unheard of, whether at the time of the all-powerful Sky or more recently under the Ineos banner.
Just to know
. Olympic champion in July 2021, world champion in January 2022, winner at Alpe d’Huez in July 2022, could Tom Pidcock dream of better over the past year?
Pidcock, a planing arrival!
. Will the Jumbo-Visma put the Tour under its yoke like the Sky in its time?
. Seven points behind Simon Geschke, isn’t Jonas Vingegaard the favorite for the polka dot jersey in Paris?
. How many sprinters will be there to play for victory in Saint-Etienne on Friday?
The answer to yesterday’s question was Jacques Anquetil. The Norman has never won at Alpe d’Huez, and for good reason: he has never raced there in the Tour.
Here is the question of the day:
Who is the very first rider to have won in Saint-Etienne on the Tour de France?
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