Jonas Vingegaard held a rock-solid lead in the Tour de France on Wednesday, while his arch-rival Tadej Pogacar was 21 Nearly 6 minutes were lost on the stage’s toughest climb.
Felix Gall won the 69km alpine climb on Stage 17, dubbed the “Queen”, ahead of Simon Yates.
Defending Jumbo Visma champion Vingegaard extended his lead in the overall standings to 7 minutes 35 seconds, with Pojakar second and his UAE teammate Adam Yates on 10 points. 45 seconds to move up to third.
After the race, Wengergaard hung out in the paddock with his daughter in his arms, while his defeated opponent sat on a pile of tires, staring down at the ground.
“I don’t know what happened, I felt empty at the bottom of the climb. I was very disappointed,” said Pojaca, who fell early in the stage.
Wengard was asked if he thought he had won the Tour de France.
“I think so. I’m more than seven minutes ahead now, so I’m happy,” said the 26-year-old, who won the 2022 Tour de France.
“But we’re not in Paris yet. Tadje will never give up. You know that,” he said.
storm clouds gather prematurely
Ineos driver Carlos Rodriguez slipped to fourth. He finished 1:16 behind Adam Yates and 18 seconds ahead of Jayco Alula’s twin, Simon Yates.
The Slovenian vowed to fight back after Wengergaard beat Pogacar in the individual time trial the day before and said he was hoping for bad weather.
But the forecasted storm passed in the early hours and the run from Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc to Courchevel was scorching heat.
The leading drivers and their teams were tested for doping an hour before the race departed from the beautiful alpine resort.
“I’m dead! I can’t go any further,” Pogakar told his team radio with about 7 kilometers left before the final ascent of Lodz Pass.
Wengard jumped away. Adam Yates shrugged off the task of pacing Pogacar to follow in the Dane’s footsteps.
In a Tour de France that has been making motorcycle news a lot, Wengergaard was stopped by a motorcycle upstream of the final hill after a car stalled and blocked the race director’s car.
The curbs were packed with excited fans, as they had been throughout the Tour de France, leaving Wengergard with no way around the stalled cars.With so many incidents happening, a security review may be warranted
The calm Dane wasn’t confused, and was even slightly annoyed that the audience gave him a push to help him move again.
Race designer Thierry Gouvenou appeared to be furious over the incident when he disembarked at the finish line.
The race will return to flatter terrain on Thursday after four epic stages in the Alps that will go down in Tour de France folklore.