Tour de France: Pogacar hails 'special day' after extending lead with back-to-back stage victories

·3-min read

Tadej Pogacar hailed a "special day" at the Tour de France after digging deep to edge out Jonas Vingegaard in an enthralling finish, as he extended his overall lead with back-to-back stage victories.

Defending champion Pogacar took the yellow jersey with a terrific ride over a mammoth stage six on Thursday, but was pushed hard by both Vingegaard and Lennard Kamna en route to La Planche des Belles Filles the following day.

Kamna was the first to make his move in pursuit of a breakaway win, going clear before being hauled in by Vingegaard on a gruelling 24-per-cent climb.

But with the Dane looking set to claim his first-ever stage win at the Tour, the imperious Pogacar snatched the lead with just 25 metres remaining in a captivating finish, extending his general classification lead in the process.

Having returned to the site of his major breakthrough in 2020, where Pogacar took the yellow jersey en route to his first Tour de France title, the Slovenian said he had been particularly focused for the race's first mountain stage.

"It was really, really difficult, especially in the last part where Jonas attacked, he was so strong," Pogacar said. "But my boys were working all day, so I had to push to the finish line.

"It was a really special day. We opened a foundation today for cancer research, so I wore special shoes just for today, and I'm really happy proud to take this win on Planche des Belles Filles.

"It was in my mind already for a really, really long time, maybe since the route was announced, and it was difficult to win today.

"I think right now Vingegaard is one of the strongest climbers in the world, probably the best climber in the world, and a really compact rider with a really strong team around him."

While Vingegaard was second over the line, Kamna dropped to fourth behind Primoz Roglic, with 2018 champion Geraint Thomas following in fifth to move into the top three of the general classification rankings.

Pogacar doubles up to strengthen grasp on lead

Pogacar's seemingly unshakeable grasp on the Tour de France's yellow jersey was strengthened as he posted back-to-back stage wins.

The Slovenian has now won two more stages at the Tour than any other rider since the start of 2020 (Wout van Aert is second with six), as he replicated his consecutive triumphs over stages 17 and 18 en route to last year's title.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 3:58:40
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) same time
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:12
4. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:14
5. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:14

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 24:43:14
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:35
3. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:10

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 203
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 140
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 108

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 10
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 8

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