Vingegaard and Pogacar, fourth anti-doping control in 48 hours at

Vingegaard and Pogacar, fourth anti-doping control in 48 hours at

Of Marco Bonarrigo

The Dane had asked for "healthy distrust", he was satisfied. Pogacar collapsed on the Col de la Loze, the analysis of the rival who won the Tour: «he attacked me for 15 days, whoever shoots too much is insecure, spends a lot and pays off in the end»

"I'm dead". The images were not enough (dilated eyes, wide open mouth, face covered in sweat) the surrender of Tadej Pogacar
on the Col de la Loze it arrives via audio on live TV, redeeming the dozens of useless conversations with the "wall" passed off as great media news. The Uae flagship does not hesitate: Tadej left adrift with the wingman Soler, green light to lieutenant Adam Yates.

There was more mercy in Vingegaard who avoided raging, extending, and continued at his pace. Barring viruses or meteorites on the course, the Tour de France ended along the most beautiful and difficult climb with the collapse of one of the two great rivals. On the vertical finishing line of Courchevel, Pogacar is almost eight minutes behind the Dane in the standings.
Brutalized in Tuesday's time trial, the Slovenian melted away yesterday. «Tadej attacked me for 15 days – explained Vingegaard – and from his aggressiveness I understood that at a certain point he would collapse. Anyone who snaps too much is insecure, spends a lot and pays off in the end».

We will never know if a more conservative strategy would have helped Pogacarif the month of rest due to a broken wrist or a spring of great successes and great efforts influenced his crisis or if the Dane was simply unsurpassed.

If you play one of the toughest Tours in history against a phenomenon like Vingegaard, who is obsessive enough to draw the trajectories of the time trial curves to be able to face them better, you have to concentrate on those three weeks and put the rest into the background. After the second consecutive defeat (we are now 2 to 2) perhaps Pogacar has understood this, but he will hardly want to curb his voracious eclecticism which exalts the fans and which has kept the Tour standing for fifteen stages. «If I manage to recover – Pogacar said – I would like to honor Saturday's stage in the Vosges, perhaps helping one of my teammates to win it. Everyone deserves it, they sacrificed themselves for me."

Having freed himself from his adversary, Vingegaard also sought the feat, that victory in the yellow jersey on a great climb that fans expect from a leader. But he took off too late, wasted time due to a car stuck in the middle of the road (excited fans and lack of barriers are becoming a serious problem) and found himself chasing the courageous Austrian Felix Gall who, leader of the day's breakaway, held on until the finish line. By winning on the Col de La Loze, Gall gained valuable points for the only classification still open, that of best climber. In the lead (with six points over the Austrian and seven over Vingegaard) is Giulio Ciccone who scrapes together bonuses with breakaways that last half the stage, dedicating the other half to recovery, a tactic that purists don't like.

But for a polka dot jersey, in lean times for our cycling, anything goes. Side note, yesterday morning Pogacar and Vingegaard underwent special blood doping controls (fourth exam in 48 hours). The "healthy distrust" invoked by the Dane was accepted.

July 20, 2023 (change July 20, 2023 | 07:14)

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