Tadej Pogacar produced one of the great Tour de France performances to blow apart his rivals and take hold of the yellow jersey on a sodden day in the Alps. The 22-year-old Slovenian, who is the Tour’s reigning champion, added to his blossoming legacy in the sport with a solo attack which none of the other general classification contenders could match, despite Ineos rider Richard Carapaz’s best efforts, and even at this early point it is hard to imagine anyone else riding down the Champs-Elysees in two weeks’ time wearing the maillot jaune.
The Tour de France is a simple concept but the race to Paris can be won in myriad different ways. Recent history has always leant towards the methodical – think of Team Sky’s gradual erosion of the pack, of Chris Froome’s stubborn style, of Geraint Thomas’s accumulation of bonus seconds in 2018 – but the new generation do things a little differently. Mathieu van der Poel grabbed the yellow jersey by ruthless attack earlier this week and Pogacar ripped it off his back here in similarly fearless style, as if winning was not just an outcome but a performance and the road was his stage.
Full report to follow…
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