Can Pogacar have any regrets?
It is time for this 109th edition to bow out for Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates). The Slovenian is dormant on the tarmac, unable to follow the tempo set by Wout van Aert in Hautacam (18th stage), and beaten on Saturday in the Rocamadour time trial by a Jonas Vingegaard, his head already cradled by an imminent sacrament. So, what did the double holder of the Grande Boucle miss? Patience but above all legs. “Pogi” landed in Copenhagen flanked by the widest sign on his emaciated back, but it must be admitted that the strongest of the Tour was also the champion of the applause meter during the passage in Denmark.
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“We will have a great Gaudu in the next Tour de France”
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Vingegaard knows how to handle underwater fauna as well as adversity on a bicycle. The Scandinavian observed from afar the daily arabesques of a Pogacar encouraged in his frivolities by a conquered public. The future yellow jersey is gradually revving up, keeping his frail calves for the roughest peaks. On the Granon stage, the key moment of the Tour for many, Pogacar would have lost his hand in a dangerous game, that of chasing all the hares.
It was a great show: The summary of a crazy 11th stage
Problem, the Slovenian, as gifted as he is, is not touched by a gift of ubiquity, and has lost the smile that he willingly displayed to lovers of the little queen. This episode does not raise any regrets in my opinion, because “Pogi” was in any case inferior to Vingegaard on this Tour, the chrono of Rocamadour confirming the impressions raised by the icy domination of the hornet in the high mountains.
I think so. I identify three moments during which the double defending champion could have changed the course of things: the Super Planche des Belles Filles, the Granon stage and the Alpe d’Huez stage the next day. Then, it seems pretty obvious that the level curve has reversed.
First moment therefore, The Super Board of the Beautiful Girls. I’m still surprised that Pogacar hasn’t tried something on the terrible ramp that usually leads to the classic finish. If Vingegaard had hung on, he would have, in my eyes, been able to let go of him later on the stony path. For a gain certainly relative in time but not devoid of symbol.
Second moment, the most important, the Granon. Or rather the Galibier. Why did Tadej Pogacar enter the Jumbo-Visma game? That he covers Jonas Vingegaard’s attacks, of course. But why consider Primoz Roglic, pushed back more than two minutes, as an opponent? “Pogi” should have let his compatriot go and waited for his teammates to ride. He would have retained the energy he lacked in the Col du Granon.
Third moment, his second attack in Alpe d’Huez. The yellow jersey had sat down half a second earlier than him. This hook would have deserved more conviction to rock a Vingegaard who was not yet sure of his dominance. So three regrets. Would they have changed the face of the Tour? This is an other story.
Pogacar tried twice, but Vingegaard did not flinch
Is Vingegaard a fine winner?
I will certainly not make friends in this story, but I find that Jonas Vingegaard does not make a good winner. That he’s the strongest on the Tour – let’s take the anomaly of nature that is van Aert out of the debate – is an irrefutable fact, but I didn’t catch on with the Dane’s cold and calculating style, which reminds me of elsewhere the Roglic of 2020 in his works.
Let’s already question the style of the yellow jersey, very often the posterior glued to the saddle, without the shadow of a wrinkle under his black glasses of undercover agent. Vingegaard is not very “beautiful” to watch, and I defy anyone to tell me otherwise. Even as a dancer, the Dane returns the image of a disarticulated skeleton empty of emotions. His story – touching – of a young fishmonger with rickety dimensions come to drown in the middle of Danish colossi is not enough to distract this ugly feeling that follows me when I look at him.
Jonas Vingegaard is going to win the 18th stage of the Tour de France 2022, in Hautacam – 07/21/2022
Add to that an overly conservative style of racing, and you have a tasteless, discolored winner. What also shocks me is the Jumbo-Visma thinking for Vingegaard, the yellow jersey teammates almost marking out the asphalt for him. Besides, Pogacar’s autonomy acts as a blessing for the follower that I am. Vingegaard is comparable in my opinion to a “tanguy”, stashed between the thighs of the Jumbo, while the white jersey has been buying its bread alone for a long time. Class, we either have it or we don’t.
I quite agree with Amaury, Jonas Vingegaard in himself does not make a very good winner. A bit like Tadej Pogacar last year, his Tour lacks a bit of epic breath. There was Grand-Bornand for the Slovenian, there was Granon (and Hautacam) for him.
That being said, it’s hard for me not to note that this Tour was still spectacular. Is it thanks to Jonas Vingegaard? A little. Thanks to the Jumbo-Visma? A lot. I know some find the performance of the Jumbos amazing at least, highly suspect at most. One day perhaps they will be challenged with supporting evidence. It is clear, however, that the final success bears the seal of a team that has tried things, if not new, at least rare at this level.
The incredible pass of arms: Vingegaard, Roglic and Pogacar attack each other in the Galibier
This combined movement of Roglic and Vingegaard in the Galibier will remain as a striking image for many years. And yes, Jumbo controlled the race in the Pyrenees but in a non-conservative way by placing men at different levels of the race. Finally, I can’t help but think back to the heartbreak of La Planche in 2020. Ringardisé by Tadej Pogacar, the Dutch team rolled up their sleeves and racked their brains to find a parade to the supposed superiority of the double holder .
Is Van Aert really the favorite on the Champs?
With a smile, I want to ask “but which stage is he not the favorite of?”. Joking aside, I’m going to answer no to the question. I immediately dismiss the thesis of a tired “WVA”. Did you find him less fresh this Saturday when he relegated Filippo Ganna to more than half a second? When he dominated Vingegaard, Pogacar and Thomas? The Tour could well leave for a fourth week that the Belgian would find nothing to complain about.
On the other hand, I take the liberty of recalling that van Aert has not won a mass sprint on the roads of the Tour for over a year. It was on the Champs-Elysées, precisely. Since then, he has three… second places. An excellent record but the green jersey still stumbles on a man. In this case three: Jakobsen, Groenewegen and Philipsen.
Cruel for Thomas, enjoyable for Philipsen: the last kilometer in video
In pure and hard speed, the sprinters are superior to him. I’m not saying I’d be surprised to the point of falling out of my chair if I saw him raise his arms this Sunday, just that he’s not THE favourite. This title, moreover, I do not know to whom to attribute it, perhaps there is none. Last thing, after this time, the Jumbo-Visma knows that it has won the Tour de France. Won’t there be a little decompression in the team? The tears of Wout van Aert on Saturday in Rocamadour go in this direction…
I want to answer yes, even if the Belgian has not yet triumphed during a massive packing on this Tour (three times 2nd). The dazzling form of the Fleming, winner of the Rocamadour time trial on Saturday, sweeps away these few doubts nestled in my mind. The Champs-Elysées sprint is different from the others. His approach is unique. Some want to tumble almost in the lead at the start of the final stretch, others will bide their time, at the risk of seeing the line slip under the wheel too soon.
Last year, van Aert launched at the right time, but also took advantage of a traffic jam stopping the launch of the Mark Cavendish rocket, diabolical during the 2021 vintage (four victories). The essential is there: a success on the most beautiful avenue in the world, which sometimes calls for others. The last to have an encore on the Champs was André Greipel. The “gorilla of Rostock” surveyed two successes from 2015 to 2016, with the necessary experience on the rough cobblestones of Paris.
Cavendish trapped, supersonic Van Aert: relive the Champs-Elysées sprint
With an unshakable physical condition and a victorious experience, WVA advances towards the capital with the sign of indisputable favorite in my eyes. Obviously, a defeat cannot be ruled out. There are still some great customers to beat: Caleb Ewan (winner in 2019), Dylan Groenewegen (2017), Fabio Jakobsen, Jasper Philipsen, etc. But one thing is certain, the most scrutinized wheel at a time when big thighs will rub will be that of the super-combative of the 2022 edition.
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