Tadej Pogacar makes Tour de France statement with stage six win

By Sports Desk July 06, 2023

Tadej Pogacar raced clear of rival Jonas Vingegaard to take a solo win on stage six of the Tour de France as Jai Hindley’s spell in the yellow jersey proved short-lived.

A day earlier, Pogacar appeared to be suffering the effects of his long injury lay-off as he lost significant time to Vingegaard while Hindley raced into yellow, but it all changed on the second Pyrenean stage as Pogacar flipped the script once again.

After sticking to Vingegaard’s attack on the mighty Tourmalet, the two-time Tour winner put in an explosive dig to distance his rival with 2.7 kilometres of the final climb up to Cauterets-Cambasque remaining, winning the 145km stage from Tarbes by 24 seconds.

Vingegaard’s consolation prize was taking the yellow jersey, but Pogacar’s camp will surely be the happier one after this. Hindley eventually came home two and a half minutes after Pogacar, with the Australian needing to return to his original target of a podium finish after enjoying a day in yellow.

Vingegaard leads by 25 seconds from Pogacar, with Hindley 94 seconds down in third. Simon Yates is up to fourth, a little over three minutes down, with his brother Adam in sixth and Tom Pidcock into the top 10, ninth at a deficit of four minutes 43 seconds.

Vingegaard took on the stage with a clear plan to take the jersey from Hindley and also to again put pressure on Pogacar, who looked vulnerable on the climb of the Marie Blanque on Wednesday.

The Dane attacked close to the top of the Tourmalet, still with more than 50km of the stage to go, quickly distancing Hindley but keeping Pogacar glued to his wheel.

The Slovenian, usually so spritely on the bike, kept his poker face on as he appeared to be clinging on, but as the gradients ramped up on the final climb he sprang forward for a statement win.

“I would not say it’s revenge but it feels sweet to win and to take some time back,” Pogacar said. “I feel a little bit relieved, I feel much better now.

“The display Jonas showed yesterday was incredible and I was thinking when they started to pull on the Tourmalet, I thought, ‘S***, if it’s going to happen like yesterday we can pack our bags and go home’, but luckily I had good legs today and I could follow on the Tourmalet.

“I felt quite comfortable and when I felt it was the right moment in the end I attacked and it was a big relief… I would say now it’s almost the perfect gap and it’s going to be a big battle until the last stage I think.”

When Jumbo-Visma made their move four kilometres from the top of the Tourmalet, Hindley initially stayed with Vingegaard and Pogacar but, having invested so much in Wednesday’s breakaway, he soon fell back into the chasing group.

“What can I say? It was just an epic day,” the Australian said. “Riding around in the yellow jersey, doing some mythical climbs. To be honest I got my arse handed to me but I really enjoyed it.”

Vingegaard had his team-mate Wout van Aert, who ignited the day’s break, waiting for him on the descent of the Tourmalet, where speeds topped 100kmh as they chased down the lead group, and seemed to be in pole position for the win, only for Pogacar to spring a surprise.

“It’s nice to be back in yellow,” Vingegaard said. “I hoped to take the stage but in the end Tadej was really strong and deserved to win.

“We wanted to try to test him again to see how he felt. I suppose he felt better than yesterday.”

Attention returns to the sprinters on Friday with a flat run in to Bordeaux offering Mark Cavendish another opportunity to go for a record-breaking 35th career Tour stage win.

But Pogacar, only 24, is now already up to 10 himself.

“I’m coming for you Mark,” he said with a laugh. “I’m joking. It’s far away.”

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