Vingegaard fends off attacks in first Pyrenean stage

Vingegaard fends off attacks in first Pyrenean stage

Jonas Vingegaard has defended his leading position in the general classification of the Tour de France. In the sixteenth stage to Foix, the Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma countered several attacks by Tadej Pogacar.

A group of 29 riders, including Wout van Aert and Nathan Van Hooydonck, broke away from the peloton early in the race. Van Aert picked up seventeen points for the green jersey at the intermediate sprint and extended his lead in the points classification.

In the peloton, Pogacar attempted several times to break Vingegaard. On the Port de Lers, the white jersey wearer tried to surprise his rival three times, but the GC leader did not budge. On the day's final climb, a strong Sepp Kuss ensured Pogacar had no chance to attack, especially as Van Aert and Van Hooydonck had now joined the duo in the yellow and white jersey.

"I felt excellent today. Tadej tried several times on the penultimate climb, but luckily I was able to follow him", Vingegaard said. "Our plan was to have someone in the breakaway, so I would have an extra helper on the final descent. With Wout dropping back, we hoped Tadej would think there was no point in attacking. The plan worked out perfectly."

"We showed that we can control the race with six men,"

Grischa Niermann

Sports director Grischa Niermann was also satisfied after the first Pyrenees stage. "We did well today. We wanted to be in the breakaway to have someone waiting at the top of the final climb. In the end, we had two riders in the breakaway, which worked out well. That allowed us to have someone wait on both climbs."

According to Niermann, Van Aert sacrificed his own chances by waiting for Vingegaard at the top of the Mur de Péguère. "In hindsight, that might not have been necessary, but you never know how things will pan out. It just gives a lot of confidence and peace of mind when someone like Wout is waiting. We didn't gain any time on Pogacar, but we showed that we can control the race with six men. Chapeau to all men."

Van Aert: "We knew it would be crucial to have someone in the breakaway. The final climb was so steep that Jonas might get isolated. Then it's a long way to the finish. This way, we avoided that problem", Van Aert said. "I think I would have had a chance to win the stage, but it would have been unfortunate if something had happened to Jonas while I was in front. We applied the best tactic."


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