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TOUR DE FRANCE Stage 17: Bittersweet Victory For Pogacar In Peyragudes

Extraordinary resistance from Vingegaard, who only gave up the four seconds of the bonus despite being isolated in Val Louron due to the great work of Brandon McNulty.

He raised his arms at the final wall of the Peyragudes aerodrome, with the rage of someone who has not yet achieved his great goal; his third victory in this Tour, the ninth already for Tadej Pogacar, a 23-year-old legend. Bittersweet taste, because Jonas Vingegaard was still in his pocket, heroic in his resistance, a little closer to being the king in Paris. The second battle of the Pyrenees left just four seconds less, those of the bonus, between the two colossi.

Because Pogacar did not want, could not or did not know how to attack his shadow on the last ascent, when he had already achieved the most difficult thing, isolating Vingegaard with only two domestiques. Brandon McNulty was the man of the day, but Tadej did not finish off, who only has Thursday left to try something else before Saturday's time trial in Rocamadour. The only blow from him came at the moment of cresting Val Louron but, again smugly, the leader did not flinch.

Appetizer Of Frustration For Pogacar

His fortress remains unassailable and his lead (2:18) lustrous. Despite having to stand alone, Vingegaard still gives the impression of having no room to break. Even in the last and brutal kilometer of Peyragudes, where the cyclists come broken in the open to the top, he tried to snatch the glory of the stage from Pogacar, which would have been a perhaps irreversible moral blow. They fought in an agonizing sprint and the Dane gave in in the last meters, although not even half a meter separated them.

The stage, short and explosive, pure rock and roll, had no room this time for the adventure of an escape. It took time to settle and when Pinot and Lutsenko made room, with a large group behind, the UAE began its strategy. His day had dawned with the umpteenth setback. If on Tuesday in Foix Marc Soler got out of control, now it was Rafal Majka who did not take the start. The first, sick. The second, injured after breaking his chain. Pogacar only had three pieces left and Hirschi has had the entire Tour under a minimum. However, he was not long in sacrificing the first piece of his. In the second port of the day, Horquette d'Ancizan, Mikkel Berghe selected the group and claimed the first victims of the nobility: the two Ineos, Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock.

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It was the prelude to battle without remedy. The next step came soon. In Val Louron Berg's work ended and McNulty's began, the last of Pogi's soldiers, impressive. He rang the bell, caught all those who were left in front of him, like corpses before his brutal rhythm and put his leader one-on-one with Vingegaard on a platter: without Van Aert and without Kuss; Geraint Thomas was the last of the roosters to hold on. The UAE or how to grow in the face of adversity, how to set up a strategy with only two pawns.

But, despite having managed to make the plan succeed, in the poker game that was the last raise Pogacar did not find himself confident enough to burn all his ships. That will have to come on the way to Hautacam, where there will be no tomorrow for anyone.

Behind, Geraint Thomas and his lonely capacity for suffering secured the podium in Paris. Enric Mas , who didn't even try, came close to those who precede him in the Top 10.

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