Tour de France: Tadej Pogačar sends a message on the return to Belles Filles

RONCHAMP, France (VN) – When Tadej Pogačar saw the Tour de France 2022 return to the Planche des Bells Filles, he put a circle around the stage.

The steeper climb as you go lost in the French Vosges is where Pogačar pulled off one of cycling’s greatest heists when he dethroned compatriot and rival Primož Roglič in the final against -the clock to catapult himself into yellow.

With his family and fiancé waiting on the climb, Pogačar went to work on his GC rivals and passed Jonas Vinegaaard in the final meters to win for the second straight day.

There was no way he would let anyone else win on the mountain where he earned a growing reputation as the new dominator of the peloton overall.

“I already had this step in mind for many months,” said Pogačar. “When I saw the presentation of the Tour, I knew I wanted to win again on this mountain.”

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The 23-year-old proves once again that his emergence as the Tour’s newest and strongest boss in the peloton is no fluke.

Anyone who could have claimed they got “lucky” in 2020 is now eating crow.

Pogačar came on strong in his title defense and put on a winning pound in what is a near-perfect first week.

“For me it was a really great seven days, two stage wins and the yellow jersey,” he said, before warning against celebrating too soon.

“This Tour is far from over,” Pogačar said. “We’ve seen a lot of super strong guys, and next week we’ll have a lot of mountains. Today was just one climb at the end with a 20 minute effort. There are still no huge gaps, but I am confident and we will do everything to defend the yellow jersey.”

Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates team did a great job of bringing him back to the scene of one of his greatest feats. Brandon McNulty, George Bennett, then Raja Majka took punches that decimated the group behind them.

When Majka started just ahead of the best gravel section, there weren’t many rival riders behind him.

Vingaard confirmed he was the most dangerous and nearly edged out Pogačar for what would have been his first stage victory. Roglič was the third to reveal that at least for now he can handle the short, intense efforts after his much-publicized spill on the cobbles.

Ineos Grenadiers have kept four in the top 10, but they are further away than at the start of the day.

Pogačar reconfirms his dominance a week after the Tour de France

Tadej Pogačar leads the way to his second consecutive victory. (Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Only Vingaard remains within a minute of Pogačar at the end of the first week of the Tour.

Pogačar said he also wanted to win to bring attention to a new cancer research foundation he is starting in Slovenia. One of Pogačar’s girlfriend’s family members died this spring, and Pogačar wants to use his growing profile to help out.

“We want to get this stage win,” he said. “I wore special shoes for a new cancer research foundation that we are launching. It was a big day for me, my family and I wanted to win this stage on this special day.

Everyone was suffocated by the dust in its wake.

It was here almost two years ago when he overcame a 57-second difference to Roglič in a climbing time trial to win his first yellow jersey.

Friday’s stage finished higher up the mountain than where the 2020 time trial ended, and traced over a steep gravel section that saw the final throes of battle of stage.

Fast forward to 2022, Pogačar is no longer the ‘new kid on the block’, and Friday’s stage confirmed he is the new one patron.

What Pogačar wants, Pogačar gets. No one has yet managed to stop him.

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