Two days of racing and the Tour de France film is consistent with the poster: the double winner Tadej Pogacar and defending champion Jonas Vingegaard went blow for blow on Sunday in the second stage. Each line, finish or bonus points, ends with a fight scene between the two huge favorites to compete for bonus seconds. After two rounds, the Slovenian phenomenon leads in points with eleven seconds ahead of its Danish rival. “If there are bonuses from time to time to get, and I have the opportunity, I will go,” he promises again. “Maybe on the last day they won’t help but it can also be tight.”
“The two strongest runners”
The Jaizkibel (8km at 5.3%), mythical climb overcoming San Sebastian, offered what promises to be a classic for the next three weeks with an intensity even higher than the day before in the Pike coast then the final in Bilbao where “Pogi” had taken third place in the stage like on Sunday. “In the Jaizkibel, I think everyone saw who was the two strongest riders of this Tour”, notes the sports director of Jumbo-Visma Grischa Niermann.
Stuck between the barriers and Simon Yates, the first to attack in the traditional setting of the Clasica San Sebastian, the Dane Vingegaard released a gesture of the elbow to free himself from his rival Tadej Pogacar, locking him up with mischief. A change of trajectory from the twin of the yellow jersey Adam Yates finally opened the door to the leader of Jumbo-Visma who instantly fired, without surprising the Slovenian who crossed the summit of Jaizkibel in the lead, winning the eight bonus seconds .
“Easy to glean those seconds”
“We wanted to prepare the sprint for Tadej at the top of the hill,” confirmed his teammate – and yellow jersey – Adam Yates. “He has a great burst of speed. It’s pretty easy for him to glean those seconds. Over three weeks, it ends up cubing,” he says. “He was close to beating him in the sprint at the top, it’s a good sign”, judge for his part Grischa Niermann about his runner.
Despite all the elbow calls (again) from Pogacar, the Dane did not relay it when they swung around twenty seconds ahead of the scattered competition to wait for his three teammates. After the regrouping, “Pogi” therefore did it again at the finish of the stage, given on the seafront of San Sebastián, where, in addition to Victor Lafay, Wout van Aert preceded him as a gun carrier. by Jonas Vingaard.
“Such a leader, always motivated, motivates us just as much,” praises Adam Yates, clarifying his status as a teammate rather than a leader within the UAE-Emirates formation. “During these three weeks, we can do something special.”
Pogacar’s wrist fractures, inherited from his high-speed fall in Liège-Bastogne-Liège two months ago, seem almost forgotten. “I have a little pain after sprinting today, he delivered. But it is improving every day. The stage was bumpy, with turns, speed bumps, potholes. .. and I was still able to sprint to the finish. So that’s not a problem.”
The two massive sprints expected Monday in Bayonne then Tuesday in Nogaro should offer an intermission before a resumption of hostilities on Wednesday in Laruns after a 6th stage, almost copied and pasted from Pogacar’s first victory in the Great Loop in 2020.
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