Vingegaard retains Tour lead as Poels wins in Alps

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard kept the overall lead of the Tour de France on Sunday crossing the finish line in the second of four Alpine tests wheel to wheel with Tadej Pogacar. Dutch climber Wout Poels won the 15th stage, raced in the shadow of Mont Blanc and dedicated his win to the memory of recently deceased teammate Gino Maeder.

In the long-term duel for the overall title between the two top riders, Vingegaard remains 10 seconds ahead of Pogacar. In the Alps, Vingegaard appears to have stemmed the tide. After three days of Pogacar clawing back time, the last two stages been even, with Vingegaard gaining second over the weekend.

The 179km run from Les Gets to Saint Gervais Mont Blanc was again dominated by both their duel between, and also by a series of falls.

Pogacar twice attempted characteristic blistering late attacks. Vingegaard caught up both times and then sped past approaching the line, only to slow and look his Slovenian rival in the eye as they crossed together.

Monday is a rest day ahead of a potentially decisive individual time-trial on Tuesday which is followed by another Alpine stage on Wednesday.

Pogacar said he was looking forward to the next two stages. Tuesday’s time trial will provide a shake up, and Wednesday’s stage has some of the hardest climbs in cycling,” said the 2020 and 2021 Tour winner.

“Tuesday and Wednesday will decide the winner of the Tour. I have tested the course for the time-trial and I like it,” said the UAE rider. His Danish rival also likes the look of Tuesday’s test, and suggested he was saving his powder. I felt good today, I don’t know if I was thinking about attacking, but it didn’t make sense,” said Vingegaard. I like short, hard time-trials like (Tuesday’s), there will be lots of change of pace and I like that.”

– Young gun consolidates third place . Carlos Rodriguez is more than five minutes behind in third, but the 22-year-old Spaniard, on his first Tour, tightened his grip on a podium place as Australian Jai Hindley dropped to fifth with Briton Adam Yates rising to fourth.

Sunday’s winding route through wild Alpine meadows and valleys featured five mountains but the expected fireworks were doused by an early mass fall Rowdy roadside fans have caused continual havoc on this Tour and on Sunday a clumsy spectator brought down half the peloton after stepping out into the road about 60km in.

Source: eNCA

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