Arrapaho's dilemma in the Tour de France of Vingegaard and Pogacar

Arrapaho's dilemma in the Tour de France of Vingegaard and Pogacar

If it's not right to choose whether you love mum or dad more, it's not right to do it between the yellow jersey and its challenger. The great beauty of a Grande Boucle that saw them fight shot after shot

Heavy Ball asked: “Tell me Capo di Bomba, who do you love more? To dad or mom?”. Capo di Bomba replied: "To Pippo Baudo". Capo di Bomba in Arrapaho (1984 film by Ciro Ippolito, according to Morandini "the ugliest film in the history of Italian cinema", but there are those who disagree), is a great answer, the only one that could be given: useless questions are never answered seriously. Some things shouldn't even be asked. Just as a cycling enthusiast shouldn't be asked if he loves a Jonas Vingegaard oa Tadej Pogacar. And it shouldn't be asked not only because a clear majority would come out for the second, but above all because it is useless to choose between one and the other, it is better to take them together, one against the other. It is in the two-on-one challenge, in the snap-by-sprint duel that cycling appears at its best, it manages to generate a feeling of pure pleasure. Pedaling produces endorphins, seeing pedaling reactivates those produced (perhaps, no scientist was mistreated in writing this article), seeing Vingegaard and Pogacar exhaust themselves with shots makes production explode. The first two weeks of this Tour de France have been spectacular also thanks to their duel. The plot of the Grande Boucle, at least until Tuesday, was open to any final: Vingegaard had detached Pogacar during the first stage in the Pyrenees, Pogacar in the second and in the Puy-de-Dôme, the stage in the Jura and the first in the Alps finished even. Then came the Combloux time trial in which the Dane beat the Slovenian by 1'38” in 22 kilometres. The crisis of the second the next day on the Col de la Loze has widened the gap to such an extent that it is impossible even to think of overturning the outcome of the race in the last mountain stage, that of Saturday on the Vosges. The balance broke at the climax, at the beginning of the third week. On the arrival of Courchevel, now almost sure of having won his second consecutive Tour, Vingegaard was happy, but not happy. Having lost his rival on the road due to force majeure and not even having to challenge him, leaving him behind after a sprint, had also left the yellow jersey with a feeling of regret, the same one that the Slovenian carried in his eyes and in his exhausted pedaling.

In cycling, the man alone in command is all the more fascinating the stronger who is chasing him. And above all how much harder it is to get it off the wheels. Vingegaard and Pogacar in the last three years have shown that they can go fast, above all that it takes a lot of strength and sometimes a bit of invention to distance their rival. In three years they have long been shadows of each other, two different but perfectly matching faces. Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar are different, sometimes opposite. Shady, reserved, introverted the first, sunny, smiling, extroverted the second. Like moon and sun, Dionysus and Apollo. The Slovenian greets, talks to everyone, from colleagues to fans. He is feisty and attractive. He is loved by smiles. Not the Dane, he always seems elusive, as if he were immersed in a world of his own. If it were for him, he would never speak, only by pedaling does he find the dimension that suits him. He also speaks little with his teammates, certainly not out of arrogance, due to a mixture of reserve and shyness. His first sports director at ColoQuick, Per Sandahl Jørgensen, said of him: “Sometimes it was difficult to get more than ten words out of his mouth in a row. However, he expressed himself very well on the bicycle. He understood that it was only a matter of time ”. Even in time management they are different, opposites. Pogacar during his first year as a professional, he was 19 years old, immediately won eight times, got on the podium at the Vuelta, allowed himself the luxury of breaking away from people like Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Angel Lopez. Jonas Vingegaard no, he took longer. He had to switch to a Continental team (cycling C series), it took him a year and a half before winning. When he arrived at Jumbo-Visma it took him another year and a half before being selected for a major stage race: at the 2020 Vuelta (46th). Everyone in the team was convinced that he would become a champion: with certain physiological values ​​it is difficult not to become a winner. Everyone except him. When he understood it he was lined up in the Tour and finished it in second place behind Pogacar.

In 2021 Pogacar seemed unapproachable, unbeatable. Vingegaard approached and beat him. Since then they are the same thing, but different, opposite. A real couple. For this reason it is useless to ask whether one loves Vingegaard or Pogacar more. They were loved as a couple. Actually a duel.

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