Jonas Vingegaard (25) of Denmark is just three stages away from an overall win at the Tour de France. On Thursday he showed great sportsmanship and great cycling as he increased his lead even further.
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Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar have been battling each other for several weeks, and on Thursday they passed the final mountain stage of the Tour de France of the year. Vingegaard was leading two minutes and 18 seconds before the stage, and thus it was Pogacar who had to do his best to regain some of the lead before the final three stages.
Instead, it was Vinegaard who proved to be the strongest in the end and won the 18th stage, on the mountain where his compatriot Bjarne Riis – who later admitted to doping – went a long way to deciding the Tour de France in 1996. So, everything points to it being a win. second overall Danish in Tour de France history.
– The Tour de France was almost decided at the top of Hautacam, said Discovery+ commentator Theis Magelssen as Vingegaard crossed the finish line.
– This morning I told my girlfriend and daughter that I want to win for them. And I did it, so I’m very happy and proud,” said Vinegaard in the victory interview.
1 of 2Photo: Thibault Camus/AP
Pogacar finished one minute and four seconds behind the Dane, and is now three minutes and 26 seconds behind in the summary, and quickly went over to Viningegaard to congratulate him on crossing the line.
– I gave my all. Second place was the best I could have done, and I can be proud of the result, Pogacar told Discovery+.
The two rivals moved away from the other contenders to the Col de Spandelles, and headed to the base of Hautacam, the final mountain in this year’s Tour de France. It was a descent that became very dramatic.
First it was Vinegaard who threw his bike.
– There we have the first signs of weakness. There was restlessness and now suddenly Pogacar rose a few meters. The first sign was nervousness and Pogacar got it, and then he stuck right away, Magelssen said.
Vingegaard ended up a few yards behind, but quickly sped back into Pogacar. Then Pogacar himself made a mistake around the corner shortly after. After missing the first corner, he slipped on the gravel as he was about to start again. Vingegaard had a gap of five or six seconds, but chose to wait for his opponent.
Pogacar got to the side and took Vingegaard’s hand to thank him.
– I think we should praise this. He was waiting for Pogacar here. This will get you a lot of fans, Jonas Vingegaard. That is great sportsmanship. It is beautiful. I got goosebumps, actually, said Magelssen.
– So sworn enemies on the bike, but so respectful, says expert commentator Henrik Evensen.
– The picture is here. If there was one picture that summed up this year’s Tour de France, it would be it. Two men alone upstairs with mutual respect, Magelssen said as the two shook hands.
– Then we get the sporting moment of the year. They go hand in hand. He thanked Jonas Vingegaard for waiting. This is really crazy. What a race between the two, says TV 2 commentator Christian Paasche.
With 40 kilometers to go, about six kilometers before the top of the Col de Spandelles, the first strike came from Pogacar on Thursday’s stage. The Slovenian continued to attack from time to time, but Vingegaard also responded brilliantly at every opportunity.
– He just needs to find a small crack in the armor, a small dent, a small flaw, and then he gets a new lease on life here, Tadej Pogacar, says Magelssen
– Vingegaard is very strong now. But we don’t know how he feels. Pogacar didn’t know that either. He only noted that he was on wheels from time to time. But occasionally it can crack. Of course, Pogacar can do it too, added Evensen.
Earlier on stage it became dramatic when Jack Bauer and Nils Eekhoff fell. You can follow the first 75 minutes of the stage exclusively on Discovery+:
On top of the Col de Spandelles, the two people who duel together, and their derivatives are kind of dramatic, but become much quieter after Pogacar is overthrown.
With his biking shorts ripped, Pogacar got off in the car as they rolled over, seemingly giving up the battle to take a crack at the summary.
– Wout (van Aert, Vingegaard’s teammate) is up front. I just want to win the stage, said Pogacar.
Down to the bottom of Hautacam, the favorites had two minutes until three breakaway drivers Thibaut Pinot, Van Aert and Daniel Martínez.
With five kilometers to go, Vinegaard and Pogacar and Van Aert took the lead. Van Aert set the pace high, and with four kilometers to go Pogacar had to let him go. Vingegaard himself raced past Van Aert a few hundred yards later and cruised to victory in majesty of its own.
With a stage win, Vingegaard also took over the rock climbing jersey.
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