Tour de France: Vingegaard before the Tour victory - Pogacar wins the 20th stage

Jonas Vingegaard has successfully cleared the last major hurdle on his way to his second Tour de France victory, even as great rival Tadej Pogacar won the penultimate stage.

Tour de France: Vingegaard before the Tour victory - Pogacar wins the 20th stage

Jonas Vingegaard has successfully cleared the last major hurdle on his way to his second Tour de France victory, even as great rival Tadej Pogacar won the penultimate stage. Surrounded by cheering fans, the Dane crossed the finish line in third place after the tough mountain stage in the Vosges.

At the final Tour d'Honneur on Sunday on the Parisian Champs Élysées, the wearer of the yellow jersey is traditionally no longer attacked. The 26-year-old defending champion Vingegaard is 7:29 minutes ahead of rival Pogacar after 20 stages.

Stage victory for Pogacar - mountain jersey for Ciccone

On the 133.5 kilometers between Belfort and Le Markstein near the French-German border, the Slovenian Pogacar sprinted from a five-man lead group to win the day. On the demanding section, the 24-year-old prevailed in front of Austrian Felix Gall and Vingegaard. "I'm myself again. It was really cool to end it like that," said Pogacar, who had suffered a severe slump in the Alps. For the superstar it was the second day's victory at the Toure 2023. The Italian Giulio Ciccone secured the mountain jersey on Saturday.

Despite the clear lead, there was another duel between Vingegaard and Pogacar. The Slovenian attacked with 13 kilometers to go, but the Dane easily kept up and got in front of his big opponent. Together with Gall and the brothers Adam and Simon Yates, they formed the leading group from which Pogacar finally prevailed.

Vingegaard has been wearing the yellow jersey since stage six. After the lead over the Slovenian Pogacar had shrunk to eight seconds in the meantime, the defending champion finally distanced himself significantly from his opponent in the Alps. With the time trial on Tuesday and the king's stage to Courchevel one day later, he increased the gap to more than seven minutes and made the preliminary decision.

Pinot pulls away, but is caught

Six difficult mountains and more than 3500 meters of altitude awaited the drivers on Saturday. The final mountain stage matched the generally tough sections of this year's tour. Accordingly, John Degenkolb was ailing on the penultimate day. "I'm pretty on the gums, I'm really broken," said the 34-year-old ARD. Georg Zimmermann, on the other hand, was still in a good mood. "Everyone knocks out everything they have in the tank. And I will join them," said the man from Augsburg before the stage.

Carlos Rodriguez, who was fourth overall, fell 89 kilometers from the finish. The Spaniard, who was bleeding from the face, had to be treated briefly, but was able to continue the race. Meanwhile, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who is contesting his last Tour of France, broke away from a leading group with almost 30 kilometers to go. The 33-year-old was celebrated vigorously by the crowds of fans on the side of the road. However, the experienced professional cyclist, who is based in the Vosges, was caught and his hopes of a fourth Tour stage victory thwarted.

On Sunday afternoon, the riders will start the final stage in Paris at the Vélodrome National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The Olympic track competitions will be held there in 2024. Then it goes through the department of Yvelines, where the road races are held at the summer games. Arrived in Paris, the classic laps are turned on the Champs Élysées. The tour ends with the ninth finish.

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