Stage 17: Vingegaard flies away from everyone on the queen stage – Pogacar: "I'm dead"

When Jonas Vingegaard crossed the finish line at Courchevel airport, his great rival Tadej Pogacar was still struggling on the king's stage of the Tour de France.

Stage 17: Vingegaard flies away from everyone on the queen stage – Pogacar: "I'm dead"

When Jonas Vingegaard crossed the finish line at Courchevel airport, his great rival Tadej Pogacar was still struggling on the king's stage of the Tour de France. The Slovenian experienced the biggest slump of his career on Wednesday and had to bury all hopes of the yellow jersey. The overall leader Vingegaard is 7:35 minutes ahead of Pogacar after 17 stages, and only a fall can cost the Danes their second Tour victory. Austrian Felix Gall won the stage.

After Tuesday's bitter defeat in the time trial, everyone was looking forward to Pogacar's big counterattack, but the opposite happened. The Slovenian had to give up on the Col de la Loze about 15 kilometers from the finish. The most difficult section of the 28-kilometre climb with a gradient of up to 24 percent had not yet been reached. At 2304 meters, the roof of the tour was too high for Pogacar, who is apparently ailing. "I can't take it anymore, I'm dead," Pogacar radioed to his team car. Vingegaard reacted immediately and massively increased the pace. Even a motorcycle blocking the road didn't stop him.

The brutal stage with 5400 meters of altitude and four mountains began with a mishap for Pogacar. After 17 kilometers, the 24-year-old fell and suffered bleeding wounds on his left knee and elbow. At first, it didn't seem like Pogacar was affected. Vingegaard's jumbo team set the pace in the field, Pogacar didn't leave his side.

Vingegaard's incredible time trial, when he outpaced Pogacar by 1:38 and his teammate Wout van Aert by almost three minutes, continued to spark debate the day after. Such a dominance arouses skepticism in cycling because of the past.

The tour organ "L'Équipe" headlined a photo of Vingegaard "From another planet". Even tour director Christian Prudhomme felt compelled to comment. "The questions about the various suspicions are absolutely not unjustified," said the 62-year-old newspaper. A few days ago, Vingegaard himself said that he could understand the skeptics. He stressed that he would not take anything and his victories would never be stripped away.

Ultimately, the hardships were far too much for Phil Bauhaus. The sprinter was already left behind by the rest of the field after the first climb and drove alone in front of the sweeper car. The Bocholter finally gave up about 105 kilometers before the finish. Bauhaus drew attention to itself in the mass sprints of the tour with a second and two third places.

"If I fall out, it will be difficult," Bauhaus had already said before the stage with a view to the Gruppetto. In this group, the sprinters come together in the mountains and support each other. After the individual time trial on Tuesday, Bauhaus was already complaining about being very tired and said: "The tour is by far the hardest thing I've done so far."

The 28-year-old would have had another chance of a good result on Thursday. The 184.9 kilometers from Moutiers to Bourg-en-Bresse have only two small climbs in the fourth category, a total of only 1200 meters in altitude are collected. Belgian Jasper Philipsen will be hoping for his fifth stage win at this year's Tour.

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