UAE’s Pogacar wins stage but Vingegaard poised to retain Tour de France title on Sunday


Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark was set to win his second Tour de France title after keeping a close tab on his main rival and 20th stage winner Tadej Pogacar in the final mountain ride of the race on Saturday.

Two-time Tour winner Pogacar, whose title hopes evaporated when he was crushed by Vingegaard in Tuesday’s time trial and cracked in Wednesday’s last Alpine stage, claimed victory on the day after 133.5 kilometres from Belfort, outsprinting Austrian Felix Gall for his second win in this year’s race.

Overall, Jumbo-Visma rider Vingegaard leads Pogacar by seven minutes and 29 seconds with his United Arab Emirates team mate, Briton Adam Yates, in third position, 10:56 off the pace.

Italian Giulio Ciccone secured the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification and Belgian Jasper Philipsen is set to win the green jersey for the points classification, providing that they both cross the finish line in Paris on Sunday.

“After such a hard week I felt like myself on the bike today. I was feeling great. I tried to go solo but I could not so it had to be a sprint,” said Pogacar.

Pogacar attacked on the last climb of the day, the Col du Platzerwazel (7.1km at 8.4%), and was followed by Vingegaard and Gall.

The trio quickly caught French pair Thibaut Pinot and Warren Barguil and Briton Tom Pidcock and dropped them before battling it out for the stage win after being rejoined by the Yates twins, Simon and Adam.

Enormously popular local boy Pinot, riding his last Tour on his training roads with thousands of fans gathered with flags, beers and flares to support him one last time.

Pinot went solo on the ascent to the Petit Ballon, riding as stage leader through a sea of roaring fans like a man possessed. Although he did not have the legs to take it all the way to the line, the Groupama-FDJ rider finished seventh after a spine-tingling day on the bike.

“I really enjoyed it, I had a big pinch on my heart, it’s the roads where I train, it was crazy,” said Pinot, third in the 2014 Tour de France and by far the country’s most popular rider.


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“I did not think it would move me that much, I feel like I’ve closed a chapter in my history – it’s stronger than I thought,” he added.

Pinot plans to end his career after riding the Giro di Lombardia, the Monument classic he won in 2018.