It was another day when Pogacar looked imperious in yellow – and his first victory in the leader’s jersey rarely looked in doubt as he attacked eight kilometers from the finish at the top as the riders raced. in the clouds in the Pyrenees.
Rigoberto Uran, who started the second day, was abandoned as only Vingegaard and Carapaz managed to stay with the Slovenian. A game of high stakes poker started out on double digit slopes, but Pogacar always had the winning hand.
Jumbo-Visma’s Vingegaard, the 24-year-old Dane who was due to take part in this Tour to support Pogacar’s friend and rival Primoz Roglic, was ready to work with the UAE rider, but Carapaz sat on their wheels, doing their best. seem to be at the limit.
Pogacar did not buy it, carrying out a series of excavations intended to bring down the Ecuadorian. Carapaz responded each time, then launched their own movement 1,500 meters from the summit – desperate to secure a stage victory for a side of Ineos Grenadiers but not taking any notice of this Tour.
But if Carapaz had bluffed so far, he would pay because a determined Pogacar refused to let him go.
Vingegaard was briefly abandoned, temporarily losing his grip on second place, but he too would pass Carapaz before the finish as the former Giro d’Italia winner really ran out of steam in the lead.
The victory took Pogacar’s advantage to five minutes and 39 seconds as Vingegaard moved to second place, four seconds ahead of Carapaz in third.
“We were 50-50 on whether to go on the stage or defend but everyone was feeling good so we tried and we got it and I’m super happy,” said the 22-year-old.
“The three of us were faultless, but only me and Jonas were working. We tried a few times to go faultless just because more time is better, but they were really good today. In the end, I just sprinted the last 50 meters and that was enough.
“(Jonas) told me Carapaz was bluffing and I knew that too. It’s nothing unusual, it’s the tactics, but when he attacked I was really motivated to catch him and just go with his wheel but it was super tough.
“It’s a fantastic day. Winning in yellow is something I can’t describe.
Anthony Perez and Dorian Godon – the last two survivors of a six-man breakaway – started the final climb with nearly four minutes behind the peloton and dream of a French stage victory on Bastille Day.
Perez attacked his former teammate with a 13km climb to go, but the 30-year-old quickly began to see his advantage crumble – and hopes of Cofidis’ first stage victory on the Tour since 2008 have ended when Pogacar took his step. just as the group of favorites spotted Perez’s rear wheel.
There is still one mountain stage to come as the peloton leads the mighty Tourmalet to Luz Ardiden on Thursday, but all hope for Pogacar’s rivals is quickly running out.