Regardless of a wrist injury or its absence, Tadej Pogacar is unlikely to ever back down. After experiencing a time loss in the first Pyrenean stage to Laruns, the Slovenian showcased his fighting spirit on stage six of the Tour de France. The stage, a mountain finish to Cauterets-Cambasque, witnessed Pogacar throwing down the gauntlet to the defending champion, Jonas Vingegaard.
Claiming his 10th stage win in the Tour, Tadej Pogacar once again demonstrated his exceptional solo attack skills, reaffirming the belief that he will only improve as the race progresses, despite his prolonged absence.
Afterwards, buoyed by reaching double figures in stage wins, he joked: “I’m coming for you Mark Cavendish! It’s a bit cocky to say that, but I’m happy to have just one stage win. Today I was just as happy as when I first won three years ago.”
The pendulum that seemed to be swinging inexorably in favour of last year’s winner has now begun to move back towards Pogacar. But the 24-year-old dismissed talk of his win as revenge. “It’s good to win today and take back some time,” he said. “I feel a little bit of relief and feel much better now.”
Pogacar’s success was the result of a shock attack on Vingegaard, just under 4km from the finish at the Cambasque mountain resort.
The Dane was unable to respond to the UAE Emirates rider’s violent acceleration, but he received compensation in the form of his first yellow jersey of this year’s race and a pat on the back from the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
“I’m super-happy to be back in the maillot jaune,” Vingegaard said. “I hoped to stay with Tadej but he was really strong on the last climb, so he deserved to win.”
Jumbo-Visma’s team leader benefited from some stellar support on his way to his latest yellow jersey, with both of his teammates, Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss, giving their all on the towering climb of the Col du Tourmalet.