was a microcosm of the previous 20.
Well once it hit the Champs, after all the revelry and the final part of the final stage really got going and Pogacar was off the front.
I said before the stage I had a feeling for the unthinkable and the breakaway would stay away, like a couple of the previous stages, was there enough teams looking out for their sprinters to bring back a good group?
There could have been a good group but they didn’t seem to properly try, or believe. Needed the mad Belgian, Victor Campenaerts to drag it out with Pog and a couple of other top riders who still had something in their legs.
Of course with Pog out there it meant Jumbo would ride and help out the sprint teams. Have you ever seen a team more panicked about a rider seven and a half minutes behind? Have you ever seen a rider more scared in the same situation as Vingegaard on that final climb of the penultimate stage?
A seven and a half minute lead, going into the final few Ks, Pog sat behind the Dane with his yellow helmet swing back to his left then his right. How he didn’t give himself whiplash in his panic. So scared it was funny.
They’re saying Pog had two bad days in the third week, firs the time trial then the following day on the Queen stage but did he really, or was it one bad day?
The only TT of the the race came the day after the second rest day. And yes from the off it looked like Pog wasn’t on it, as the live timing showed him well behind the yellow jersey. And up that climb to the finish I said – and it must have been blatantly obvious because apparently even Matt Rendell said it – that Pog looked like his fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, did on that TT up La Planche des Belles Filles in 2020 where Roglic crumbled and Pog won his first TdF. Visor off, helmet back, shell shocked look on his face. It was so similar even the time difference was close.
The main difference was that if you took the Pog out of the 2020 TT, Roglic was coming in 4th on the stage just ahead of Wout van Aert. Take Vingegaard out of this one and Pog has smashed WvA and won the stage. Everyone was saying what a great TT by the Belgian until his Danish teammate finished. Pog put in over a minute on the Jumbo rider, van Aert. Did Pog have such a bad day, or did Vingegaard just blast it.
From the riders I saw, no one went down the start ramp quicker than the Dane. No one went round that first bend faster than the Dane, especially after those two DSM riders went down. Vingegaard blasted it from the first second for all of the 22km course.
Yes the following day it was bad. As bad as it has probably been for him on a bike. And for once the new “innovation” of listening in to the team radio gave something other than the bland and bleeding obvious, when you heard Pog say
I’m done, I’m dead. Vingegaard backed up that storming TT, Pog didn’t, couldn’t.
Not the same Pog the following day when he wasn’t present on the front of the grid at the start of the stage. But the real Pog on that penultimate stage when he had Vingegaard tying himself in knots panicking.
Next year Pog will finally come of age, he won’t be in the Young Rider class any more, so if he’s not in any other jersey he won’t have all that post race rigmarole to deal with nearly every day he’s been in the race – every day since stage 13 of his first Tour in 2020. We’ll see if that makes any difference, along with an injury free build up.