Tour de France: Slovenian Pogacar wins the sixth stage and takes the yellow jersey
Double blow for the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)! The outgoing winner won the sixth stage of the Tour de France on Thursday July 7 in Longwy. He thus took control of the general classification of the race. With this victory, Pogacar dispossessed the Belgian Wout van Aert of the yellow jersey, the great animator of this stage. The latter was the longest of the Tour with nearly 220 kilometers, linking Binche in Belgium to Longwy in Meurthe-et-Moselle. The stage promised to be explosive, with in particular a succession of impressive climbs over the last kilometres. The most feared, the side of Pulventeux alone 800 meters at 12.3 average slope.
Victory after a long breakaway
The Slovenian, double winner of the Tour, beat the Australian Michael Matthews and the Frenchman David Gaudu in an uphill sprint, on the eve of the first summit finish, at the top of the super Planche des Belles Filles. Van Aert’s last stand, with undeniable panache but questionable tactical interest, and the favorable wind enabled the stage to be completed at an average speed of more than 49 km/h.
In an unbridled first part of the stage (101.6 km in two hours), van Aert multiplied the battering to finally cause a breakaway of three riders with the American Quinn Simmons, the youngest of the Tour peloton (21 years old ), and the Dane Jakob Fuglsang (37), 148 kilometers from the finish.
The peloton granted up to four minutes to the trio launched in this reckless breakaway. Omnipresent since the start of the Tour, van Aert dictated the pace most often in a burst of energy the day after the cobblestone stage, exhausting for many riders. After the intermediate sprint, at kilometer 145, Fuglsang finally got up and van Aert continued the crazy adventure with Simmons, who took over without a second thought. Behind the duo, the peloton reduced its pace and the gap was close to two minutes for a long time before melting in the last forty kilometers.
Alone in the lead at the start of the last thirty kilometers, the Belgian challenged the peloton chasing him before being caught and immediately overtaken eleven kilometers from the finish. Russian Aleksandr Vlasov crashed moments later. At the front, Alexis Vuillermoz started on the penultimate climb at six kilometers but was joined on the finish climb, 1,400 meters from the line.
In the sprint, Pogacar clearly dominated Matthews and signed his seventh stage success in the Tour, which he is competing for the third time. In the general classification, the 23-year-old Slovenian is four seconds ahead of the American Neilson Powless and 31 seconds over his runner-up from last year, the Dane Jonas Vingegaard.