Tour de France – 12th stage – Tadej Pogacar: “I know what happened at Granon and it won’t happen again”

As always in life, it’s all about perspective. Take Tadej Pogacar. For the Slovenian, this 12th stage is the story of the glass half empty or half full. On the tails side, after his big boxwood shot from Granon, he was reassured. “An hour after arriving yesterday I thought I was never going to recover, but I had a great dinner, massage and slept really well“, he confided.

If we did not find in Alpe d’Huez the insolent ‘Pogi’ and a calf above the rest of the world, he was also far above the version of the city. By the way, even if it’s completely anecdotal, he goes back to the exit of the Alps in second place in the general classification behind Jonas Vingegaard. But on the face side, he was unable or unable to unclamp the same Vingegaard. However, this will be the equation to solve sooner or later if he wants to conquer a third round.

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If one word was needed to sum up the feeling of the double defending champion on Thursday evening, it would be “mixed”. “I think I could have been better“said the white jersey. A collateral damage of his failure of the Granon. “After yesterday, I was not 100% confident as I would have liked to be.he regrets. But the sensations were still quite good. They were good already this morning in training so I knew what happened yesterday would not happen again..” So he needed to be reassured. It’s done.

Pogacar: “If I hadn’t cracked yesterday, I would have believed in myself more”

With a little hindsight, Tadej Pogacar believes that he has indeed committed a fault that we will qualify, at your choice, as a mistake of youth or a sin of pride. He had sketched it on Wednesday evening, he confirmed it on Thursday: during the Galibier pass of arms, he ran upside down. “I know what happened yesterday (Wednesday) and it won’t happen againpromises the leader of Team UAE Emirates. I spent too much energy on the climb to Galibier. I felt strong, but I paid the bill in the Granon. I should have stayed a little quieter.”

I wasn’t strong enough to let go

What’s done is done, and if the lost time can’t be made up, it’s his mission now. The roles are reversed between Pogacar and Vingegaard, but the young Slovenian does not hate this outsider position, which he had not occupied since the 2020 Tour against Primoz Roglic. “I have already found myself in this position, it’s up to me to attack and I like it. I think it’s going to be a great duel between Jonas and me“, advance ‘Pogi’, already obscuring a boy like Geraint Thomas, yet pointed a few seconds from him in the general. But we understand the idea and, to be honest, we will not give him wrong.

Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard and Alpe d’Huez.

Credit: Imago

Attack, then. But where ? When ? And how ? On Thursday, the finish in Alpe d’Huez offered one of the best opportunities on paper. But with the aftermath of the Granon slip and the lack of confidence he evoked, Pogacar ultimately remained relatively wise. Two attacks, not one more, in the last four kilometers, to which the new yellow jersey responded without the slightest difficulty. The wisdom he had not been able to show on Wednesday, Vingegaard had it at Alpe. To the regret of Pogacar: “When I tried to attack, Jonas never counter-attacked, which I would have liked, it would have allowed me to respond in turn. He just followed me, and I wasn’t strong enough to let go.”

Will it be in the next ten days? For that, he will undoubtedly need a double condition: to return to 100% of his means (and his confidence) but also to count on a erosion of his main opponent. If the Dane of the Jumbo-Visma, so solid and so well surrounded, does not open the door as the Slovenian did at the Granon, Pogacar may find it difficult to regain these 142 seconds which today separate the two men. “Jonas is stronghe concedes. But the Tour is still long. We will fight until the end. I’m ready for the steps ahead.”

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Tour de France – 12th stage – Tadej Pogacar: “I know what happened at Granon and it won’t happen again”