Slovenia's Pogačar wins penultimate stage of Tour de France

Dijon, 22 July - Slovenia's Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emiratess) won the penultimate stage of the Tour de France from Belfort to Le Markstein (133.5 km) on Saturday, ahead of Felix Gall of Austria and Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, who today unofficially became the winner of this year's edition of the most prestigious road cycling race.

Toulouse, France
Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

Pogačar tried to attack on the last climb in what was a very tiresome mountain stage, but he could not shake off Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), who has more than seven minutes of advantage over Pogačar as the second-placed racer in the overall standings.

The Slovenian then resorted to tactical cycling, receiving assistance from team mate Adam Yates of the UK, and decisively beat his pursuers in the final sprint.

"It is best to win if you reach the finish line alone, but Jonas was very good again. In the end, I was under pressure to give back this victory to the team," the 24-year-old told the national broadcaster RTV Slovenija.

This is the 11th career stage win for Pogačar at the Tour de France, after he also won the 6th stage this year. He had three stage victories each in 2020, 2021 and 2022. He was victorious in the general classification in 2020 and 2021.

The stage win for Pogačar comes after his compatriot Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) won yesterday's, 19th stage of the Tour de France.

In the overall standings, Vingegaard is seven minutes and 29 seconds ahead of Pogačar and ten minutes and 56 seconds ahead of the third-placed Yates.

The race will conclude on Sunday with a 115.1 km sprint from Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The stage is a mere formality and Vingegaard is unofficially already the repeat winner after he also won last year.

Pogačar, who won the white jersey for the best young cyclist at the Tour, said that the "race was a carousel of emotions, especially in the last week. After all the suffering on a daily basis, this win means a lot to me."

© STA, 2023