Vingegaard deals Pogacar massive blow in Tour de France time trial

Vingegaard deals Pogacar massive blow in Tour de France time trial

COMBLOUX, France-- Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard destroyed rival Tadej Pogacar in Tuesday's individual time trial to gain a massive time and psychological edge in their fight for the Tour de France title. The Danish rider won the 16th stage, clocking 32 minutes and 36 seconds on a beautiful course with Mont Blanc making cameo appearances in the background to beat 2020 and 2021 Tour winner Pogacar by 1:38 and stretch his overall lead to 1:48. While Vingegaard was a slight favourite going into the solo effort against the clock, his performance was absolutely staggering as he rode at a jaw-dropping 41.2kph on average, almost 4kph faster than the organisers' fastest expected time. Talks of a race that could be decided by seconds ended in abrupt fashion as the baby-faced Vingegaard pulverised his rival over 22.4 kilometres after they were separated by a mere 10 seconds some 2,600 kilometres into the race. "I didn't see the numbers yet but it was very fast and for sure Jonas's best time trial ever but we knew what he was capable of," his Jumbo-Visma sports director Grischa Niermann told reporters. Vingegaard himself was surprised by his display. "I think it was one of my best days on the bike ever. I mean at one point I started doubting my power metre was broken. I think today all the hard work paid off," the 26-year-old told a news conference. Vingegaard made a strong start, reaching the first check point at 7.1km with a 16-second advantage over his rival. The Dane took all the risks in the descending portions and reached the foot of the Cote de Domancy (2.5km at 9.4%) with a 31-second lead. While the Jumbo-Visma leader stayed on his time trial bike, Pogacar gambled and switched for a lighter road bike, hoping to make up for some time in the climb. It had no effect. Flying Vingegaard Vingegaard was flying, at some points even seeing Pogacar's team cars in the distance, having started two minutes behind the Slovenian. "On the flat part between the climbs I was holding back. I wanted to do 360 watts (of power) and I ended up doing 380, then speeding up a bit in the climbs," he said after delivering a huge blow to Pogacar ahead of Wednesday's gruelling 17th stage between Saint Gervais and Courchevel. "Today I could not do more, maybe it was not my best day," said a pale-faced Pogacar, who still beat third-placed Wout van Aert by 1:13. Van Aert summed up the situation by saying: "Today I was the best of the normal riders." Pogacar vowed to keep on fighting, but his face told a different story - that of a stunned man who had just experienced the reverse of the 2020 Tour, when he effectively won the race by steamrollering Primoz Roglic in the final time trial. "The Tour is not over but he gained a lot of time. We will try but it will be much harder than last year (when Pogacar finished second overall behind Vingegaard). I gave everything," he told reporters. "Honestly I did not expect this but it can happen. I hope tomorrow will be better." Pogacar's UAE Emirates team mate Adam Yates is now third overall, an astonishing 8:52 behind Vingegaard, after the Briton leapfrogged Spain's Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos-Grenadiers), who is five seconds behind.

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