Tour de France: Pogačar Narrowing Gap as Vingegaard Remains Confident for Alps Challenge

Tadej Pogačar continues to narrow the gap on his Tour de France lead, but Jonas Vingegaard remains unfazed by the pressure. On the thirteenth stage, Pogačar gained another eight seconds on the summit of the Grand Colombier, reducing the margin between the two riders to single digits. Just like on stage 9, Vingegaard was unable to match Pogačar’s explosive attack but managed to limit the gap to just eight seconds, including the four-second time bonus Pogačar earned for finishing third. However, Vingegaard remains confident in his chances and is not feeling anxious about the shrinking margins.

Vingegaard acknowledged that the upcoming stages in the Alps and the subsequent challenging stages after the rest day will prove to be a test of climbing strength. However, he believes that the current small gaps at the top of the General Classification will widen by the end of the race. Vingegaard expressed confidence in his abilities, stating that he has yet to deliver his best performances and that his condition is improving. He emphasized that the Tour de France is often decided on the grueling long stages, and he looks forward to seeing what unfolds in the next few days.

The lack of Jumbo-Visma riders accompanying Vingegaard on the Grand Colombier was a deliberate strategy, as they knew UAE Team Emirates would push hard for Pogačar. Vingegaard trusted in his own abilities to handle the ascent well. He commended his team for executing the plan, and he and Pogačar seem to be operating at a higher level than the rest of the peloton.

Sepp Kuss, the Jumbo-Visma rider who stayed close to Vingegaard throughout the stage, expressed satisfaction with their performance. He acknowledged that UAE Team Emirates controlled the stage and the finish favored Pogačar. Kuss believes that the upcoming stages, especially the high mountain stages, will be crucial in determining the outcome of the race. He emphasized their continued leadership and happiness despite the minor time loss. The question of whether it would have been better for Pogačar to lead by a second or two is difficult to answer, as Jumbo-Visma has their own plan and is content with their current position.

As the Tour de France progresses, the rivalry between Vingegaard and Pogačar becomes more evident. Vingegaard recognizes Pogačar as one of the best bike riders in the world and appreciates the challenge he poses. The riders are now bracing themselves for the upcoming high mountain stages, which will likely be decisive in shaping the outcome of the race.

In conclusion, Vingegaard remains calm and determined despite Pogačar’s ongoing efforts to close the gap. He is confident in his own abilities and believes that the Tour de France will be decided in the next week. With the challenging Alpine stages and high mountain stages ahead, both Vingegaard and Pogačar are preparing for an intense battle to secure the coveted yellow jersey.