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The voracity of the Jumbo, the first failure of Pogacar, the mixed record of the French… what to remember from the Tour de France 2022

The Danish Jonas Vingegaard offered himself, on Sunday July 24, the first Big Loop of his career at the end of an edition managed by the hand of a master, marked by a new way of running and a gap which seemed abysmal between the duo of lead and the rest of the peloton.

The show of force of the Jumbo-Visma

The Dutch formation, in yellow and black colors, brought back the yellow jersey for the first time in Paris and they did not do things by halves with six stage victories. Without forgetting the green jersey and the Super Combatif prize for the Belgian Wout van Aert.

Sometimes criticized for their strategy and a certain arrogance, Jonas Vingegaard’s team produced their collective masterpiece during the 11e stage arriving at the top of the Col du Granon (Hautes-Alpes). Tadej Pogacar, then yellow jersey, but isolated, was exhausted following the repeated assaults of the « wasps » and was stung on the last climb by an aerial Jonas Vingegaard.

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Inevitably, any domination in cycling provokes certain reservations.  » I don’t even want to answer, it’s a shitty question. » Wout van Aert got angry when questioned on Saturday about doping. “We are completely clean, claimed a more polite Vingegaard. I can assure everyone, nobody takes anything illegal”.

Tadej Pogacar’s first failure

Tadej Pogacar did not pass the pass of three in Paris, but the Slovenian fell with weapons in hand. “There couldn’t be a better way to lose the Tour de France. I will finish the Tour without regrets”he admitted at the end of the last mountain day, in Hautacam (Hautes-Pyrénées), on July 21.

The UAE roster prodigy attacked relentlessly in an attempt to recover the precious tunic. In his defense, he composed with a team hit by bad luck, after the successive abandonments of Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett positive for Covid-19, Marc Soler (sick) and Rafal Majka (injured).

« Pogi » is therefore no longer invincible, he whose last « defeat » in a stage race dates back to the Tour of the Basque Country in April 2021 (3e). A very relative failure, with three stage victories and the white jersey for the best young rider. “I will come back hungry”he has already promised.

The Ineos-Grenadiers in the shadows

Sky’s hegemony – seven Tour won in eight editions between 2012 and 2019 – is it a thing of the past? Became Ineos-Grenadiers in 2020, the British team has lost the instructions to win. Geraint Thomas nevertheless makes a very honorable 3ebut the Welshman was never able to weigh in on the race. “The two in front are very difficult to catch, they are really very strong”conceded the 2018 winner at the start of the third week.

By then the British had three pawns in the top ten (Thomas, Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock). Yet their risk-taking remained minimal. With his prestigious victory in Alpe d’Huez, Briton Tom Pidcock put on a show with his talents as a downhiller and gave his team’s Tour a little more relief.

Gone are the transition stages and accidental winners

With an average speed of over 42 km/h for the yellow jersey, the 2022 Tour is the fastest in history. It is also indicative of new ways of running. Long battles for breakaways, ultra-offensive racing strategy… “The race has gone crazy”, Geraint Thomas also noted when recounting the following anecdote:  » Sunday [17 juillet]Fabio Jakobsen [le sprinteur de Quick Step] asked me: “With your experience, can you explain to me how it is that I have a guy from my team in the breakaway where there is also the green jersey, when it is supposed to be a stage for sprinters?” »

The Tour no longer tolerates accidental winners and famous “transitional stages” consecrated a former world champion (Mads Pedersen in Saint-Etienne) and one of the best sprinters-punchers in the peloton (Michael Matthews in Mende). « You have to get used to (…), it’s going to fight and we only find big names in front »slipped Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën), who had managed to take the breakaway in Mende. « When you see the level on this type of stage, there is not too much room for riders like me », abounded, the same day, Franck Bonnamour (B & B Hotels).

Not to mention the voracity of some teams. “Jumbo and UAE want their stage win as soon as they can. We must make do « summarized Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal).

A mixed record for the French

On the morning of the 19e stage, zero points were looming for French cycling. But Christophe Laporte came out of his box in Cahors and the journalists put away their comparisons with 1926 and 1999, the two editions without any stage won by the organizing country.

Read also: In Cahors, Christophe Laporte hits the jackpot for French cycling

Is this Tour 2022 a barely passable vintage? With Julian Alaphilippe absent and without a sprinter, ambitions had necessarily been lowered. However, two Frenchmen finished in the top 10: David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), 4e in the general classification – the best result since Romain Bardet’s third place in 2017 – and the same Romain Bardet (DSM) in 7e square.

But the two riders remain far from the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard. The Breton points to 13 min 39 from the Dane, the Auvergnat to 18 min 11. Placed therefore, but not yet quite ripe to succeed Bernard Hinault on the Champs-Elysées.

Our selection of articles on the Tour de France 2022

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