Tour de France: Vingegaard edges closer to glory with triumph at Hautacam

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Jonas Vingegaard raced to victory on stage 18 of the Tour de France to extend his general classification lead as Jumbo-Visma all but clinched the three main jerseys.

Vingegaard started the 143.2-kilometre route between Lourdes and Hautacam, the last mountain stage of Le Tour, with a lead of two minutes and 18 seconds over defending champion Tadej Pogacar.

But Jumbo-Visma star Vingegaard stretched that lead to three minutes and 26 seconds on Thursday, with team-mate Wout van Aert starring before allowing the Dane to take over in the final four kilometres to triumph.

Numerous riders tried and failed to contest with the yellow jersey contenders throughout the climb, with a moment of sportsmanship between Pogacar and Vingegaard coming with 28 kilometres to go.

Vingegaard almost crashed, but it was Pogacar who ended up falling in the descent. The Dane then slowed in front to wait for the UAE Team Emirates rider before the pair shook hands and continued.

"I think he kind of missed the corner and then he went down into the gravel. The bike disappeared. I waited for him," Vingegaard said of the incident after victory before dedicating the win to his team.

"It's incredible. This morning, I said to my girlfriend and my daughter that I wanted to win for them and I did. This one is for my two girls back home.

"I was just happy that it finally ended. I am so really happy that I won the stage, but there are more days to come.

"Luckily, I have to thank all my team-mates. You see Wout van Aert dropped Pogacar in the end. Everyone was incredible. They were all incredible."

VINGEGAARD OUT TO END POGACAR RUN

Vingegaard was quick to quell talk of his potential yellow jersey victory, telling reporters: "I don't want to talk about it. Let's talk about it in two days."

But the 25-year-old is on the verge of securing both the general classification (GC) and king of the mountains titles, which would halt Pogacar's search for history, while Van Aert comfortably leads the points classification.

Pogacar has been aiming to become the first rider since Richard Virenque to win the polka dot best climber's jersey in three consecutive editions, and the second to win his first three Tour de France races after Eddy Merckx, who triumphed in the GC on his first five attempts.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 3:59:50
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:04
3. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +2:10
4. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:54
5. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +2:58

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 71:53:34
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +3:26
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +8:00

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 451
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 219
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 196

King of the Mountains

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 72
2. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 64
3. Giulio Ciccone (Trek–Segafredo) 61

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