A gesture that travels the world of cycling was recorded during stage 18 of the 2022 Tour de France. The Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, champion of the Tour de France in 2021 and 2020, and who is currently second in the general classification, fell in full pursuit of the leader of the competition, the Danish Jonas Vingegaard. Far from imagining that the latter would take the opportunity to take advantage, in that tight fight for the title, he slowed down and waited for him. They then shook hands as a sign of fair play.
Even more to applaud than the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar he took victory a day earlier, in the 17th stage of the Tour de Francewith a finish at the Peyragudes plateau, and just beat the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard. Despite this, the Dane saw how the circumstances unfolded and waited for him.
On the purely competitive level and before this sporting gesture, the Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo) declared that he still “does not think about victory” in the Tour de France, in which he is a yellow jersey, ahead of arriving in Paris next Sunday. Second in the finish behind his dolphin in the general, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, Vingegaard was “disappointed not to have been able to win”.
“The final slope was very explosive and suited Tadej much better than me. I wanted to do a longer sprint. He deserved the victory”, declared the Dane. “Hautacam suits me better,” added Vingegaard about the last top finish of this Tour, on Thursday.
Vingegaard was isolated from his teammates, in the middle of a trap with two UAE runners (Pogacar, McNulty), 3 kilometers to the top of Val Louron-Azet, the penultimate ascent. “If there is a problem, it is not the best situation to be without a teammate”, acknowledged the yellow jersey. “But I had nothing else to do but follow Tadej. I was never worried.”
Pogacar (UAE), meanwhile, who achieved his third stage victory in this Tour, in the second chapter of the Pyrenean triptych, of 129.7 kilometers, was before stage 18 in the general classification, 2 minutes and 18 seconds behind the runner Danish of the Jumbo, thanks to the four seconds that he cut thanks to the bonuses. This Thursday he could lose more time if it were not for the great sporting gesture of his rival and partner. “I am very happy for this victory, I wanted it”, he confessed Pogacarwho lay down on the ground as soon as he crossed the finish line, with Vingegaard at his wheel, because of the demanding final effort.
PogacarThe 23-year-old scored the ninth Tour stage win of his career. In addition, the Slovenian was left without the help of his Polish teammate Rafal Majka for the remainder of the Tour, who left before the start due to muscle problems in his quadriceps.
The stages pass, the end in Paris is getting closer, and the opportunities are running out for a Tadej Pogacar that he will have to give everything he has left in Saturday’s time trial in Rocamadour to reverse the times that separate him from the yellow jersey. Neither in the Col d’Aspin, nor in the Val Louron, nor in the final port, all of them first class, he managed Pogacar get rid of a Vingegaard tied to his wheel, despite the fact that the Slovenian had the help of his teammate Brandon McNulty for much of the stage.
“I have to keep an eye on him because you never know when he’s going to attack,” Vingegaard said. “I just have to follow Tadej”, he insisted with the lesson well learned.