Tour de France effectively 'over' as Tadej Pogacar wins stage six to claim leader's yellow jersey
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar wins longest stage
Slovenian seizes leader's yellow jersey in Longwy
Adam Yates the highest placed Briton at fourth spot
Tom Pidcock fifth overall; Geraint Thomas is sixth
Sir Bradley Wiggins has declared this year’s Tour de France “over” after Tadej Pogacar claimed the race leader’s yellow jersey on Thursday thanks to an emphatic uphill sprint victory on stage six.
The Slovenian, chasing a hat-trick of titles this year at the age of 23, left his general classification rivals trailing in his wake once he decided to turn on the afterburners with around 300m to go on the climb into Longwy on the French border with Luxembourg.
At one point, Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) looked around to see what damage he had inflicted with his savage burst of acceleration and almost appeared to ease off the throttle in embarrassment, so far clear was he. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) eventually came home second, with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) third and British debutant Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) an impressive fourth. But they were all competing in a different race to the stage winner.
It was the seventh Tour stage win of Pogacar’s career and most pundits expect him to make it eight on Friday in the first proper climbing test of this year’s Tour, the summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles.
The climb holds special memories for Pogacar. It was on La Planche des Belles Filles that he spectacularly dethroned his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) in the penultimate day time trial two years ago to secure his first Tour title.
If Pogacar wins again on Friday, in the wake of his win on Thursday and his similar show of strength over the cobbles on Wednesday, not many will argue with Wiggins’ assessment that the Tour is effectively “over” before we even reach the Alps, let alone the Pyrenees. “I said yesterday I think the Tour is over,” Wiggins told Eurosport. “What can he not do? He has just won a small uphill kick and taken the yellow jersey, perhaps one day ahead of when we thought he would.”
Until Pogacar’s late intervention, stage six had mainly been notable for a kamikaze ride from the Slovenian’s predecessor as race leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). The star performer of the first week, Van Aert raised eyebrows by making the day’s three-man break in the longest stage of this year’s race at 219.9km.
He then dropped his two breakaway companions Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), riding alone in the yellow jersey.
Van Aert was eventually caught just before the final climb into Longwy with 10km remaining, and ended up losing more than seven minutes as he switched focus to the green jersey. But his rivals were still impressed. “He’s playing with our balls isn’t he?” Pidcock said of Van Aert’s ride. “I don’t know what to say to be honest. He’s taking the piss.”
Dominant Pogacar seizes yellow: As it happened...
Wiggins: ‘I think the Tour de France is over’
Speaking on Eurosport, Sir Bradley Wiggins, said: “The first 100km on the bike, they did it in pretty much two hours, so it was a very quick stage. [Wout] van Aert in the breakaway and Tadej Pogacar too, it had everything. We said yesterday what can he not do?
“He has just won a small uphill kick and taken the yellow jersey, perhaps one day ahead of when we thought he would, but this race is really hotting up now.
“These guys are the new stars of the sport and they resemble the likes of Eddy Merckx and the way they used to race. This first week of the Tour de France, we don’t normally see these big guys come to the head until later into the race or certainly stages like tomorrow, but we’ve had everything these first few days. Tadej Pogacar, is he going to win a third Tour now? I said yesterday I think the Tour is over.”
Pogacar wins stage six at the Tour de France!
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) jumped in the final 200 metres and was able to hold off Aussie sprinter Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco), while French climber David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) held on for third.
Stage 6 - Binche › Longwy
The winner on the TDF22 stage is Tadej Pogačar 🇸🇮🤍💛🌟💨👏👏 #TDF2022 @PCyclingManager pic.twitter.com/iOFH2gfiCJ
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) July 7, 2022
Thanks to the 10sec time bonus, the Slovenian also took hold of the leader's yellow jersey. Apparently, there were mostly shrugs and shakes of the heads from the press room in Longwy. Most are predicting another stage win for Pogacar on La Super Planche des Belles Filles tomorrow. Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), the talented young American, kept hold of his second spot, while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) of Denmark moved up to third.
There are four Ineos Grenadiers riders in the top 10 of the general classification, including three Britons: Adam Yates is fourth (39sec), Tom Pidcock fifth (40sec) and Geraint Thomas who lost 5sec on the stage is sixth 46sec off the pace of Pogacar. Thomas' Colombian team-mate Daniel Martínez is a further 14sec back in eight spot, 8sec adrift of Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) of Russia. Compatriots Romain Bardet (DSM) and Gaudu complete the top 10.
1km to go
Rafael Majka peels off, his work done for the day, before UAE Team Emirates team-mate Brandon McNulty takes over on the front. Tom Pidcock is sat on the wheel of Tadej Pogacar – remember Pidcock outclimbed Pogacar on the run-in to Siena at Strade Bianche in 2021.
1.5km to go
Alexis Vuillermoz is caught. Rafael Majka leads for team-mate Tadej Pogacar, the defending champion is perfectly placed, sitting pretty at third wheel.
2km to go
Alexis Vuillermoz hits the bottom of the final drag up to the line. Primoz Roglic, Tadej Pogacar, Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock are bouncing away in pursuit. David Gaudu is in there too.
3km to go
Alexis Vuillermoz is pressing on, but the Jumbo-Visma-powered peloton is looming, with Tadej Pogacar riding third wheel in the chasing group. Tom Pidcock is there too.
4km to go
Alexis Vuillermoz, who won a stage on Mûr-de-Bretagne back in 2015, has gained handful of seconds on the rest of the field. The 34-year-old Frenchman started the day 5min 55sec down on general classification, so none of the overall contenders will be too concerned by the move.
5.5km to go
Onto the Côte de Pulventeux goes the peloton. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) clips off the front, but is reined back in. Next to lead the line is Tiesj Benoot, but the general classification riders are fanned out across the road. Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) attacks, Tadej Pogacar responds but the Frenchman goes over the summit alone.
7km to mgo
Aleksandr Vlasov has two team-mates helping him as he attempts to chase back on. His team had done such a good job looking after him for 210km of this long stage, but a brief lapse in concentration may mean he is losing some time on his rivals.
9km to go
Crash in the bunch, and I think Aleksandr Vlasov was involved. There was a small island in the centre of the road which caused the spill. Ouch. Nervous run-in to the line now.
11km to go
Wout van Aert has been caught. Suspect he will be losing the yellow jersey in a short while, he looks absolutely cooked. Jumbo-Visma, Ineos Grenadiers and Groupama-FDJ are dead centre of the road, while Arkéa-Samsic are near the front also.
12km to go
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Lotto-Soudal) has gone off road in dramatic style, while two Jumbo-Visma riders – including Tiesj Benoot – went down, as did Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ). The crash has caused a bit of a split in the bunch.
13.5km to go
Tadej Pogacar, Jonas Vingegaard, Geraint Thomas, Aleksandr Vlasov and Adam Yates – all general classification contenders – are up near the front of the peloton, keeping themselves out of danger's way. Incidentally, there is no 3km rule in place today so positioning in the final may be crucial: if there is a crash and a rider is delayed by it, then he will lose time on those ahead of the incident.
16km to go
Onto the penultimate climb of the day, the Côte de Montigny-sur-Chiers, goes Wout van Aert and his lead is down to below 30sec. Van Aert is grimacing, proving he is, after all, human. UAE Team Emirates are looming.
18.5km to go
Wout van Aert's pedalling remains smooth, but I think he is starting to struggle. He's certainly losing ground on the chasing peloton which is just over 30sec down on the Belgian now. With the general classification teams chasing hard, if Van Aert is caught he will more than likely be spat out of the back and not only lose the opportunity to win the stage, but also lose his yellow jersey. Still, if that's the case he always has the green jersey to fall back on.
20km to go
Wout van Aert's lead has dropped to 45sec. As the road rises, the 27-year-old stands on his pedals out of the saddle, in an effort to put as much power through those cranks as possible.
22.5km to go
Wout van Aert's lead drops to below a minute for the first time in a couple of hours. Ineos Grenadiers have six riders down the right-hand side of the peloton, protected their general classification riders no doubt, but possibly also hoping to set up a certain young Tom Pidcock. This final here today may suit the Yorkshireman.
25km to go
Wout van Aert, dressed in his yellow skinsuit as overall leader at the Tour de France, is in time trial mode and going for it here. The Belgian has gained a few second since dropping Quinn Simmons, leading by 1min 10sec, but the peloton is giving it beans. While some will be hoping for the stage win, others will be thinking about the general classification. This has been quite a strange stage, but an utterly compelling watch.
He can't, can he?
The last rider to win two non-time trial/non-mountain stages in the Yellow Jersey was Bernard Hinault in 1979 #TDF2022
— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) July 7, 2022
30.5km to go
And Wout van Aert has ridden Quinn Simmons of his wheel. The Trek-Segafredo man shakes his head in disappointment, while the maillot jaune presses on.
31km to go
Things are speeding up in bunch as teams start to get organised. It appears that there is a committed chase now ant the two-man breakaway's lead has plummeted to just 1min 10sec.
37.5km to go
Here's a closer look at the tough finale . . .
43km to go
Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost), one of three Welshman in the race, has taken over on the front of the peloton, but the big group is struggling to take any further time into the leading pair of Wout van Aert and Quinn Simmons. The breakaway leads by 1min 56sec.
47.5km to go
Rotating with each other, Quinn Simmons and Wout van Aert are working well together. You have to wonder what is going through the mind of Simmons who would, surely, be rolled over by Van Aert if it were to go down to the final climb, the Côte de Pulventeux which is only 800 metres long but has an average gradient of
12.3% which is going to hurt after around 215km of racing in the legs.
52.5km to go
The terrain is rolling and clouds are looming overhead, but Wout van Aert is showing no signs of slowing. The finale suits him down to a tee, but if the breakaway is caught it could suit the puncheur-climbers. With UAE Team Emirates working on the front, is Tadej Pogacar going to land another blow on the noses of his rivals?
55km to go
UAE Team Emirates, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Bora-Hansgrohe and EF Education-EasyPost have been sharing the work on the front of the peloton, but Wout van Aert is not letting up – why would he after all the work he has done thus far today – and alongside Quinn Simmons the Belgian is holding on to his lead of around 2min.
62.5km to go
Wout van Aert and Quinn Simmons, two mightily strong riders, are going toe-to-toe with the peloton which trails the pair by 1min 48sec. Time for a big two-up time trial between the pair. Van Aert chats with the young American, presumably encouraging Simmons to work together... but surely they will be caught by the bunch?
65km to go
Wout van Aert and Quinn Simmons have lost another 20sec or so, their lead dropping to around 1min 35sec. Jakob Fuglsang, by the way, stopped for a 'comfort break' and never got back on. Intriguingly, he bailedfollowing a long conversation with Van Aert. It would be fascinating to know what was said between the pair.
68km to go
EF Education-EasyPost are really working hard on the front of the peloton now. They clearly have a plan today, but who for? Neilson Powless is second on general classification so maybe they are working for him, or do they think somebody like Alberto Bettiol could have a crack? Anyway, the breakaway's lead has dropped by quite a chunk of time to just 2min.
70km to go
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) led the peloton over the line at the intermediate adding 13 points to his tally, pipping Fabio Jakobsen who earned himself 11 more points.
73.7km to go
Wout van Aert extends his lead in the points classification after adding 20 points to his tally at the intermediate sprint in Carignan.
75km to go
The leading trio are holding onto that advantage of around 2min 55sec, but a short while ago Wout van Aert gave the TV camera a look that suggested he was not too confident that this breakaway can go all the way.
80km to go | The Badger has spoken
“[Tadej] Pogacar has shown them who is boss,” five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault told Eurosport France earlier. “The others are wondering how they can put him in trouble and when you know what is waiting for them at the end of the Tour, it will be very difficult.
“The other possibility we have is there will be another tactic, which is picking out that moment when to attack but there are two big teams that are going to need to make that decision, which are Ineos and Jumbo-Visma. They are going to need to agree on a strategy that if one team attacks, the others must not go after them. You must make Tadej go after you and then maybe you take the turn. In that case, you might be in trouble but if I was in his shoes, I would be very relaxed.
“He is so controlled. He will have an opportunity on La Super Planche des Belles Filles, a great moment in the race. He also knows how to win a time trial. After Alpe d'Huez we will know who is going to win the Tour but more importantly who has lost it. So, Ineos and Jumbo need to create an alliance essentially because even without his team, Pogacar will be safe.
“On flat days like today, he will have the whole team around him to protect him but when it comes to the mountains, he will be on his own and the others are alone too. Last year, sometimes he was alone and other times it was a fight with the main GC contenders. The best rider always wins.
“I think he can win, or he might allow [Primoz] Roglic 10 seconds, but he won’t give away too much of an advantage or that would mean he would be in trouble.”
85km to go
Quinn Simmons, by the way, has just on win on his palmarès which, by coincidence, cam in the Walloon region of Belgium where today's stage got under way. I suspect he will not be adding a first WorldTour win to that list of wins this afternoon, but I could be wrong. The 21-year-old arrived at teh Tour de France in decent nick having won the mountains classification at the Tour de Suisse and also finishing third in the points classification. Simmons and his fellow breakaway riders lead the stage by 2min 45sec.
90km to go
Wout van Aert, Jakob Fuglsang and Quinn Simmons have lost another 35sec, their lead dropping to below three minutes now.
92.5km to go
Alpecin-Deceuninck are getting a little bit of help from EF Education-EasyPost on the front of the peloton. Starting to wonder if Mathieu van der Poel has been sandbagging and, in fact, fancies the tough looking finale to today's stage hence Alpecin-Deceuninck doing much of the chasing? Either way, the increase in pace on te front of the peloton has seen the break's lead drop to 3min 25sec.
95km to go | Interesting point . . .
I know that we all don't rate Fuglsang very high but at the moment, WVA is helping him to gain time in GC over his own team leaders. 😅 Personally, I don't understand much of what Jumbo-Visma is doing here, Wout is spending too much imo... #TDF2022
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) July 7, 2022
97.5km to go
Alpecin-Deceuninck has a lone rider pulling on the front of the peloton, just ahead of a phalanx of UAE Team Emirates. The peloton is strung out in a long line, highlighting the kind of speed this 169-strong group of riders is hammering away at.
100km to go
I've not mentioned him today, but Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is still looking a little leggy, with the Dutchman riding towards the rear of the peloton which trails the breakaway by 3min 46sec. Good news for that eight-man group of stragglers that has managed to regain contact with the peloton. Hurrah!
110km to go
The eight-man group at the back of the race – George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Gianni Moscon (Astana Qazaqstan), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Max Walscheid (Cofidis) and Andrey Zeits (Astana Qazaqstan) – has gained a handful of seconds. Interesting to notice that two of Tadej Pogacar's team-mates are trapped in there.
Wout van Aert just took new bike from his team car and wasted little time in regaining contact with Jakob Fuglsang and Quinn Simmons. The trio leads by a smidge below four minutes.
115km to go
Today's stage has been raced at a fierce tempo, Wout van Aert, Jakob Fuglsang and Quinn Simmons having covered the opening 95km at an average speed of 50.9kmh. Given the rolling terrain that is ridiculous. There's a group of eight riders out of the back, trailing the breakaway by 5min 32sec. They will have to organise themselves and work together if they are to avoid missing the time cut later on this afternoon.
120km to go
Jakob Fuglsang, the 37-year-old Israel-Premier Tech rider – I think all Israel-Premier Tech riders are contractually obliged to be over 35 – started the day 1min 20sec down on general classification. Should the Dane go all the way to the line today within touching distance of Wout van Aert, then there would be a slim chance of him challenging for yellow on tomorrow's summit finish on Planche des Belles Filles
125km to go
The leading trio which includes some very strong riders has increased its lead to 3min 20sec. It is very strange seeing the maillot jaune in the breakaway, not too sure what his thinking is: perhaps extend his overall lead and then keep hold of yellow atop Planche des Belles Filles on Friday which may alleviate the pressure on his team-mate Jonas Vingegaard? I'll be honest, I've not worked out what his strategy is yet.
As it stands . . .
There is a three-man breakaway that leads the stage by a shade over 1min 48sec, but in reality that is only half of the story of the day. It has been an absolutely ripper of a stage thus far and the trio of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), finally, escaped off the front after wave upon wave. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) flexed his muscles earlier which sent shockwaves through the peloton, while Geraint Thomas and his Ineos Grenadiers team-mates managed to mark the moves, clearly very alert following yesterday's testing ride over the cobbles.
And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage five of the 109th edition of the Tour de France, the 219.9-kilometre run from Binche in the Wallonia region of Belgium to Longwy.
Less than 24 hours after Wednesday's barnstormer of a stage concluded in Wallers-Arenberg, the peloton will faces its longest day in the saddle. It is a cruel sport, cycling. While defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) underlined why he is the favourite to win the Tour in Paris a little over two weeks from now following his scintillating ride over the cobbles of northern France, it was, by contrast, a day to forget for Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Roglic, runner-up in 2020 who abandoned in the wake of a crash last year, hit the deck yesterday and dislocated his shoulder. Although he managed to get back on his bike and finish the stage, Roglic lost 2min 8sec to his great rival and may have lost his chance of challenging for the yellow jersey he so nearly win two years ago.
“I got up quickly and got back on my bike, but very quickly I realised that I couldn't go on like that,” Roglic said on Wednesday. “I had to stop and borrow a spectator's seat to put my shoulder back in place myself. As this has happened to me before, I know what to do, I grab my knee and pull hard. I don't know in what shape I will be to continue. For the moment, I don't think I've lost the Tour, I'm not there yet in my head, I'll try to recover”.
Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Michael Gogl (Alpecin-Deceuninck) became the first riders to abandon the Tour on the cobbles. Haig, who was hoping to challenge in the general classification, suffered with “multiple abrasions and bruises over the body” and later required stitches. Gogl, meanwhile, broke his collarbone and pelvis. Earlier this morning, it was announced that Daniel Oss (TotalEnergies) would not start today's stage after breaking his neck in a crash. Quite incredibly, the Italian managed to finish yesterday's stage.
Sector 3 chute spectateurs @TeamTotalEnrg @Daniel87Oss pic.twitter.com/dkExu8NNwl
— Victor Loy (@LoyVictor) July 6, 2022
There was joy for Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) who at the age of 35 won the first Tour stage of his career after the Aussie outsprinted Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) to the line with another old boy Edvald Boassen-Hagen (TotalEnergies) taking third. It truth, it was complicated and confusing afternoon filled with crashes, chaos and carnage as the Tour was shaken to pieces that would need hours to unpick, it may be wise to get a recap with the below highlights package. . .
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) also crashed, but played the perfect team-mate's role as he helped shepherd Jonas Vingegaard towards the line following a mechanical to ensure the Dane lost just 13sec to Pogacar, while also managing to keep hold of the yellow jersey.
There was very little movement in the points classification, and so Van Aert still leads that particular competition, but second-placed Fabio Jakobsen (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) will wear the green jersey.
There were no categorised climbs in yesterday's stage, and so Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) kept hold of his polka dot jersey as leader in the mountains classification.
Pogacar kept hold of his white jersey as leading young rider, while Britain's Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) trails by 30sec.
So, what's on today's menu?
A long day in the saddle awaits the peloton, and with a couple of short but sharp climbs at the end of the stage this could suit a score of riders. But will it be a day for the breakaway, or general classification riders?
Given tomorrow sees the peloton head towards the race's first summit finish atop Planche des Belles Filles, some of the climbers or general classification riders may be hoping to keep their powder as dry as possible ahead of the predicted fireworks on Friday. Van Aert would be favourite for a stage like this, but he has had two tough days and so much will depend on how he has recovered, likewise Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) looked leggy yesterday, perhaps still fatigued from the recent Giro d'Italia which was, in fact, the first grand tour he completed. There is a threat of crosswinds and so that may add another dimension to the day's racing. Despite its uphill finish, the stage carries the same number of points in the race for the green jersey as a sprint stage.
There are three categorised climbs – Côte des Mazures, Côte de Montigny-sur-Chiers and Côte de Pulventeux – with a maximum of five points up for grabs in the mountains classification, meaning if Cort completes the stage within the time limit then he will retain his polka dot jersey going into Friday's stage.
And finally, the weather . . .
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