Cycling: Pogacar frustration after stalemate: “Only paid attention to myself”

Cycling: Pogacar frustration after stalemate: “Only paid attention to myself”
Cycling: Pogacar frustration after stalemate: “Only paid attention to myself”

The Tour de France takes place for the first time on the dusty gravel roads of Champagne. Tadej Pogacar’s attacks are unsuccessful and Frenchman Anthony Turgis wins the ninth stage.

Tadej Pogacar wiped the dust from his face after the gravel spectacle in Champagne, but the man in the yellow jersey was unable to get rid of his frustration. The Slovenian cycling star had repeatedly attacked at a hellish pace on the white slopes, and the all-rounder simply could not escape his rivals on the ninth stage.

Pogacar had no understanding for the fact that defending champion Jonas Vingegaard did not join in the lead during the attacks. “They were only paying attention to me. Jonas, Remco (Evenepoel) and I could have secured the podium, but that could come back to haunt us later. But everyone is racing their own race, it doesn’t bother me,” said Pogacar.

So the great spectacle on the rocky dirt roads between the industry’s top stars ended in a stalemate. At the end of the eagerly awaited exchange of blows between the Big Four, Pogacar, defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, world champion Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic reached the finish line in Troyes side by side.

Vingegaard hopes for improvement

Vingegaard, meanwhile, is counting on the time factor that he can improve over the course of the tour, especially since he is still lagging behind in performance after his fall in the Basque Country in April. “The goal was not to lose any time. We managed that. My teammates did a great job,” said the Dane, who admitted that Pogacar was the strongest. This means that everything remains the same in the overall ranking before the rest day. Pogacar continues to wear the yellow jersey and is 33 seconds ahead of Evenepoel. Behind him are Vingegaard (1:15) and Roglic (1:36).

The day’s victory after 199 kilometers went to Frenchman Anthony Turgis, who won the sprint of a small breakaway group ahead of British mountain bike Olympic champion Thomas Pidcock and Canadian Derek Gee, securing the hosts’ third victory in 2024.

Pogacar attacks – without success

All eyes were on the Tour stars as they rode along the dusty paths, which had a total length of 33.2 kilometers. Pogacar launched the fiercest attack a good 22 kilometers from the finish, but Vingegaard managed to catch up thanks to his strong helpers, so that the group of favorites rolled together again. Evenepoel also tried an attack during the stage – without success. So the attentive Vingegaard could feel like the moral winner.

Two-time Tour champion Pogacar was well prepared. The 25-year-old had won the Strade Bianche gravel race in the spring with an impressive 82-kilometer solo. Vingegaard, however, hit the slopes without any knowledge of the route. When his Visma team explored the terrain in May, the Dane was still suffering from the effects of his serious fall in the Tour of the Basque Country. Evenepoel had left nothing to chance and, as in the time trial, knew all the pitfalls.

Gravel roads as a tour premiere

It was the first time in the Tour’s history that the gravel roads were included in the program. After some cobblestone passages of Paris-Roubaix had been included in the route several times in the past, another element was now added in the search for more spectacle.

The riders were clearly struggling. In the steep and sometimes narrow sections, quite a few professional cyclists had to get out of the saddle and take a short walk. However, there were hardly any falls – with the exception of Roglic’s helper Alexander Vlasov, who ended up in a ditch a good 40 kilometers from the finish, but was able to continue.

Tour pays tribute to deceased professional cyclist Drege

Before the field set off, tribute was paid to the deceased Norwegian professional cyclist André Drege. The riders of the Norwegian team Uno X appeared together in the front row on Sunday, wearing black armbands. Only behind them were the jersey wearers around the overall winner Pogacar. Drege had fallen on the descent from the Grossglockner on Saturday during the Tour of Austria, which was being held at the same time. He succumbed to his injuries.

The Tour will take a break on Monday before continuing a day later with the tenth stage over 187.3 kilometers from Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond. Then the sprinters could get their chance again.

Source: Stern

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