Vingegaard-Pogacar, duel in the sun before a crazy weekend

The Dane remains under threat from his Slovenian rival, who has returned to 9 seconds at the top of the Grand Colombier. Saturday and Sunday’s stages in the Alps promise to be spectacular.

Special envoy to the Grand Colombier

The obsession is such that they are likely to follow each other to their hotel room and wait feverishly for the lights to go out. Before resuming, greedy, their pas de deux at the first light of dawn. Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar spy on each other, fear each other. On all terrains. Tight marking. In shorts. Worthy of a football match.

In turn, they try to spread the warm breath of a cumbersome presence down the other’s neck. Haunting shadow. In the climb of the Grand Colombier (which saw the Polish Michal Kwiatkowski triumph, prolonging the pleasure of the Ineos team which, as in 2022 with Tom Pid in Alpe d’Huez, won the stage of July 14), last difficulty of the 13th stage, Vingegaard saw nothing of the road except his back shaken by the shoulder movement of his rival. In the final 400m, he gave up four seconds (plus four bonuses). “It’s a small victory for us»,summarized Pogacar, tireless attacker. “My goal was to stay in yellow, I’m still in yellow, so I’m happy“replied his rival.

A fabulous program this weekend in the Alps

After 13 of the 21 stages, the Dane (title holder) and the Slovenian (titled in 2021 and 2021) are separated by only 9 seconds. And the difficulties to come are dizzying. After the Pyrenees, the Mif Central and the Jura, it’s time for a weekend high up in the Alps with the 14th stage arriving in Morzine (via the Ramaz and Joux Plane pes) and the 15th stage planted at the top of Saint -Gervais-Mont-Blanc (after having notably climbed the Col de la Croix Fry and the Col des Aravis).

Read alsoTour de France: Pogacar less than 10 seconds from Vingegaard, the general clification after the 13th stage

We keep the yellow jersey, we defend the place of Jonas. For the moment, he feels good. It’s hard to compare with last year but he’s strong. The next two steps will provide opportunities. I think the suspense will last. They are so close in the general clification… It could last almost until Paris“says Arthur Van Dongen, one of the sports directors of the Jumbo-Visma team.

The fabulous duel between Vingegaard and Pogacar on the 2023 Tour. THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

Joxean Fernandez Matxin, one of the sports directors of the UAE Team Emirates team, observes the duel:Tadej does not carry a heavy backpack. He has a band with him. He believes in the team. The team believes in him. The situation is tense but he is fine. It is progressing day by day. He has more confidence, better condition but maybe the same goes for Jonas…“With Vingegaard and Pogacar, tomorrow never dies…

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