The short hike in the Pyrenees featured an intimidating combination of the Col du Tourmalet and the final steep climb to the ski resort of Luz-Ardiden, two Tour classics.
Pogacar’s main rivals did not take advantage of the brutal run. The defending champion pulled away from a small group of four riders in the last mile. After Enric Mas’s attack, Pogacar countered the movement and abandoned Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz to claim a third stage victory this year.
Barring an accident, the 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider is set to be crowned Tour champion for the second year in a row when the race concludes in Paris on Sunday.
Before Sunday’s processional race leading to the Champs-Elysées, there is only one difficult stage left: a time trial through the Bordeaux vineyards scheduled for Saturday. Pogacar excels in the race against the clock and wins the first time trial of the Tour this year, beating the pure specialists.
Pogacar has a huge lead of five minutes and 45 seconds over Vingegaard in the overall standings. Carapaz is third at 5:51 am from the pace.