Tour de France verdict: Ineos’ postmortem can wait, but Egan Bernal’s reign as champion is over

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It was supposed to be the day Egan Bernal returned in the yellow jersey. Return to the field he preferred. Not quite the Alps, with its high altitude. But a long finish at the top, at least, with a smoother and more consistent average slope than Friday’s leg burner in Auvergne where Bernal dispatched more than half a minute to his Slovenian rival Primoz Roglic. [Jumbo-Visma] and Tadej Pogacar [UAE Team Emirates]. Bernal’s work last Friday turned out to be a sign. When he wakes up this morning, on the second day of rest of this Tour, the 23-year-old will have to reflect on the fact that his reign as champion is over.A simply devastating performance by Team Jumbo-Visma on stage 15 on Sunday put Ineos Grenadiers, and Bernal in particular, at the épée, doing the British super team what they have done to so many others these last years.

Jumbo, with numbers in front, gave a lightning tempo to the Grand Colombier’s final ascent, and Bernal couldn’t hack it. Not even close. He cracked 13km from the summit and, with his teammates gathered around him, worked the rest of the climb, finishing more than seven minutes on stage winner Pogacar, who beat compatriot Roglic in a dramatic sprint. for two.

Pogacar’s second stage victory in the race and the extra 10 seconds he collected for his efforts reduced the race leader’s deficit to just 40 seconds.

It looks like a two-way battle for yellow now, although Wednesday’s Queen Stage in the Alps, from Grenoble to Méribel via Col de la Madeleine and Col de la Loze, might still have a say. . Just as a handful of runners are still standing in front of Jumbo. Rigoberto Uran [EF Pro Cycling] and Miguel Angel Lopez [Astana] are both within two minutes of the yellow jersey. Even Adam Yates [Mitchelton-Scott], who spent four days in a yellow jersey in the first week, is hooked. Yates even attempted a daring attack on Sunday, solo from 7km, in a bid for glory. But he was driven by the Jumbo machine.

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