Pogacar revolutionizes the Tour

A day after succumbing to a fan, the Slovenian cut Adam Yates by 40 seconds and was the strongest of the roosters. Nans Peters was exhibited in a fugue.


Tadej Pogacar will turn 22 one day after the end of the Tour de France. Write down your name, if you haven't already. He already got on the podium in the last Tour of Spain. And here it also points to the Champs Elysees. The previous day he had fallen into the trap of the fans, where he gave 1:21, but far from shrinking, he took pride and caste in the Pyrenees and cut 40 seconds. Pogacar was, without a doubt, the most solvent kingpin in the first fight in the heights, where Primoz Roglic, less than expected, and Nairo Quintana, more than we remembered, were also strong. Six minutes before the Slovenian, Nans Peters, a 26-year-old French debutant, crossed the finish line, the hero of this lively Saturday, who finished the break with power and tactical sense. He already had a victory in the Giro d'Italia. He's a winner.

The stage followed the initial pattern of these great mountain chains, with a numerous getaway from the first kilometers, thirteen men with mixed interests. There were, like Benoît Cosnefroy, oriented to the prize of the Mountain. Also those who had one eye in front, on Loudenvielle's goal, and another behind, focused on their leaders, such as Carlos Verona, the only Spaniard in the adventure. And also, of course, the stage hunters. Here one name stood out above the rest, that of Ilnur Zakarin, in near times a rooster for the general, podium in the 2017 Vuelta and winner of stages in Giro and Tour.

Zakarin, as it was written, detached himself from his colleagues on the Balès, the penultimate port, the hardest, but reached the top with tough company, that of Nans Peters, also the winner of a stage in the pink corsa. Verona did not go far, half a minute, without priming. The Ag2r cyclist knew the weak point of the Russian and pushed him beautifully on the descent to leave alone. Zakarin came down square, the Frenchman's poisoned arrow stuck in his Achilles heel. The falls of the past leave scars. Diego Rosa retired due to an accident on that same descent, Neilsson Powless made a cross country in the style of his compatriot Armstrong… On the previous descent, the Menté, Asgreen had put his bike at 97.1 km / h. Cycling is not only climbing, descents also win races. Zakarin came back on the Peyresourde, but could not get the glove. And you still had to go back down. Peters was the hero of the day. And Zakarin, blocked by his fears, didn't even finish second. Skujins and Verona also passed him.

In the group of favorites, which was running at more than ten minutes, the Jumbo-Visma had begun to put pressure on the Balès. The first victim fell fast: Thibaut Pinot. He gave a minute: 25:23. Goodbye to the Tour. The definitive explosion came in the Peyresourde, the last port. Dumoulin, the number two of the yellow roller, took the head, with the ripe bonnets. Alaphilippe tried an impossible, with attack and recoil. And the whole group began to burst: Valverde, Mas, Adam Yates ... Pogacar, wounded in the soul by the fan the day before, hit a first arreón and forced Roglic to respond in person. Initially, only Nairo Quintana held out against the duo, not his compatriot Egan Bernal. Then there was general regrouping, but the cards were already face up. And the weaknesses exposed.

Pogacar launched a counterattack. Once again. And Richie Porte and Mikel Landa went hunting him. Just the three roosters that had succumbed on Friday to the fury of the wind. Forced to go back. Pogacar crowned with 44 seconds. He is the man. Quintana jumped to the top, with a forgotten ambition, and only Roglic could reply. There was another rearrangement, with Landa always among the best, but the cloth test did not lie. They are the strongest of the Tour, at least for now: two Slovenians and a Colombian, but not the Colombian that everyone expected, but the reborn Nairo. Pogacar cut 40 "to Adam Yates, who retained the yellow jersey in agony, and is already 48" from first place. Today he would be the leader without the Lavaur fan. Or maybe not. Losing time forces you to react. The comeback operation began.

Before the stage there were 15 riders in 41 seconds. At the end of the first contact with the great mountain, there are ten runners left in one minute, the last of them Enric Mas, exactly that difference. The colossi have made their first screening, but the equality remains enormous. This Sunday comes the second round in the Pyrenees. With a leader in the classification, but not on the road. Anything can happen.

Photos from as.com
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