Tour de France: Pogacar edges Vingegaard in enthralling Pyrenees battle

·3-min read

Tadej Pogacar claimed a thrilling win in stage 17 of the Tour de France following a remarkable battle in the Pyrenees with yellow jersey holder Jonas Vingegaard.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar claimed his third stage victory of this year's Tour, producing a decisive final kick to edge Jumbo-Visma rider Vingegaard on an enthralling and tortuous final climb.

Pogacar and Vingegaard somehow found the legs to produce a stunning finish on imposing gradients at the end of the 130-kilometre stage from Saint-Gaudens to Peyragudes.

The Slovenian's victory owed much to the efforts of team-mate Brandon McNulty, who set a furious pace to help the trio drop the rest of the field, ensuring Pogacar was in a position to go for the win for a depleted UAE team.

UAE lost Rafal Majka to a muscle tear having already been robbed of the services of Marc Soler, who finished stage 16 outside the time limit. Soler had appeared to be struggling from the effects of the searing heat that has spread across Europe.

Despite having only four riders left in the peloton to start the stage, UAE blew the race open, enabling Pogacar to launch his first attack after reaching the summit of the penultimate climb first.

Yet he could not succeed in putting distance between himself and Vingegaard as the pair proved incredibly evenly matched.

Indeed, it initially appeared as if Vingegaard would claim the glory after McNulty, who won the day's combativity award, was dropped.

But Pogacar had a final burst left in the tank that allowed him to cross the line arms aloft, though he gained only four seconds on Vingegaard, whose lead is two minutes and 18 seconds in the general classification.

POGACAR OPTIMISTIC OVER GC HOPES

Despite his minimal gains in the GC, Pogacar retains high hopes he can overhaul Vingegaard with one mountain stage left. The Tour will effectively be decided on stage 20's time trial. Both Pogacar and Vingegaard are excellent time-triallers.

"The team rode today, we were only four, to take the stage win is incredible," Pogacar said. "We can be proud, we see tomorrow as another chance. Tomorrow is another day, which I'm looking forward to.

"I gave absolutely everything. I know that I need to win, there's no other way, I gave it all for the team. I was so happy.

"Brandon did an amazing job. He was so good today. Special mention goes to him.

"I am optimistic [about his GC hopes]. Tomorrow is a more hard day, we can try again tomorrow."

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 3:25:51
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma)
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +0:32
4. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:07
5. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) +2:34

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 67:53:54
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +2:18
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:56

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 416
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 202
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 196

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 64
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 52
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 46

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