Van Aert – Pogacar, who made the most impressive start of the Tour? Does Jumbo-Visma play too many tables?

Van Aert – Pogacar: Who made the most impressive start of the Tour?

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

Two bouquets, four podiums: the first week of Tadej Pogacar is enough to turn your head. Behind these statistical lines with a brilliant reflection, “Pogi” surprised me especially with his management at all times. Whatever the terrain or the elements, the Slovene always finds the opening, flutters over the fleshy cobblestones of the “Northern Hell” and dodges the gadins. The most impressive thing is that the native Komenda manages it alone, or almost. Hirschi, Bennett and Soler unrecognizable, the Slovene could only count on his faithful “gregarious”, the chatterbox Majka, never staining with comments for his young protégé.

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I certainly hear it right, during the Copenhagen time trial, the effort was lonely for everyone. But Pogacar’s mastery is not contagious and, without giving the impression of taking all the risks on the wet pavement of the Danish capital, the prodigy has been inserted between the two best pilots in the world. Except for a delayed start during the large unpacking of the Jumbo-Visma swarm on the coast of Cap Blanc-Nez (4th stage), the double holder of the Grande Boucle has achieved an impeccable performance. Pogacar dusts off the memories of the “outclassed”, whose use left the platoon long ago. The Slovenian ogre protrudes everywhere, sweeps the satiety with the back of a claw and gathers honors. All this against two navies returned to their functions.

The joy right after the finish line and then the explanation with Majka: We embark with Pogacar

Simon Farvacque

I have nothing to say about this praise, oh so legitimate, of Tadej Pogacar. But in terms of the standards he imposed on the peloton and on our minds, “Pogi” did “Pogi” at the start of the Tour de France. On the cobblestones, he imagined him at least as a predator. At height, it has not flown. The outgoing double winner did not surprise me during these first eight stages – or only marginally – while Wout van Aert left me speechless.

The way he dropped Quinn Simmons off the wheel on Thursday during his yellow swan song, the way he held the whole platoon on the occasion of his first hit of this edition, the dominance he exercised again this year. Saturday during the 8th stage. : Wout van Aert is a leg up, in his record. I am a little more impressed than Pogacar, in this 109th Tour that the Slovenian will not easily win in my opinion. One thing is certain: the struggle between these two men takes place in spheres whose height is dizzying.

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Does Jumbo-Visma play too many tables?

Simon Farvacque

Yes, the Jumbo-Visma runs after too many hares at once, in my eyes. However, there is nothing better than winning and therefore I cannot condemn the attitude of the Dutch team, this Saturday in the direction of Lausanne. The final was cut short for Wout van Aert, why deprive him of offering him a golden opportunity to achieve further success on this Tour? Sure, but that meant giving Tadej Pogacar a chance to widen the gap, compared to Jonas Vingegaard, with second “bonuses”.

Bingo, “Pogi” took four more seconds of margin, over his Danish rival, back to 39. “This does not reflect an obvious strategic error, but testifies to the paradoxical mandates governing the Jumbo elections. And if Van Aert -especially thinking about the green jersey- was he too strong to appear on a team focused on the coronation, facing a rival as formidable as the double defender?

Already, on Arenberg Road, cutting the squad in half to support Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard in their respective setbacks had been costly. The yellow and black navy is formidable because it has no comrades, but it may lack soldiers to compete with King “Pogi”. The hierarchy and roles will probably clear up, on the high mountain that points to the tip of your nose. Is there still time?

This time, Pogacar didn’t have the last word: Van Aert’s victorious sprint in pictures

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

I share the concerns raised by Simon. The Jumbo-Visma settled in Copenhagen with a single goal, to sit on the highest rung of the podium of the Champs Elysees with the yellow jersey back in the Arc de Triomphe. Long before the start of this 109th edition, however, Wout Van Aert warned his world, announcing to the Flemish columns his intention to compete with priority for the green shirt, without concealing his commitment to the operation. of general classification. Clearly, the coexistence of these two hares did not really benefit the two-headed leader of the Yellow and Black.

I will not go over all the missed opportunities to take advantage of a few great Pogacar times, but plan ahead. Because I can only look to the future with optimism. On the evening of this eighth stage, WVA has expanded its impressive wardrobe with a second success and more than a hundred units of Fabio Jakobsen, his runner-up in the fight for the green tunic. The Belgian showed himself on all fronts, but on a terrain that suited him. I can’t wait to observe the behavior of the Milan-Sanremo (2020) winner in the Alps, starting tomorrow. It will be “all set” for its leaders, or should its leader say, as the race itself has operated its own natural selection.

Praised by the Danish people, Jonas Vingegaard is, in fact, the only wasp capable of instilling some doubts in Pogacar’s skull. Above all, the dispersal of Dutch forces did not cost as much: 39 small seconds. I want to believe that Roglic and Van Aert will combine their forces around last year’s dolphin. It’s not too late: the high mountain barely shows the end of its attic slopes.

Vingegaard: “It was brutal but I feel good, my legs are good”

When is the first French stage victory?

Simon Farvacque

It may be for this Sunday. The bet is bold, given that the best French climbers are still either in the general classification (David Gaudu, Romain Bardet, Guillaume Martin), or not in the form of life (Thibaut Pinot, in particular). Good luck, to defeat the pawn in Pogacar and company, or, as it is, to advance to this battle of the leaders. Added to this is a competition in terms of “adventurers who aren’t afraid of falling” always high up on the Tour – Lennard Kämna as a bow figure – and you’ll get a questionnaire.

But Warren Barguil, Pierre Latour or another Tony Gallopin have the profile to shine during the 9th stage. They can, depending on their opponents on the run, win the jackpot. It is not, therefore, a prognosis dictated by a deep conviction that I am making here. Mostly I have a feeling it’s time for a group of 15-20 adventurers to say goodbye from the peloton to the finish line. The fugitives were only right once, after eight days of play, during this Grande Boucle. I think that will be the case for the second time, in Châtel, and that the tricolor will be able to take advantage of it to slide to the highest step of the podium.

The profile of the 9th stage: The Alps gently

Amaury Erdogan-Gutiérrez

I’ll be the devil’s advocate, because I don’t see a Frenchman strong enough to win in the short term. The Barguil, Latour, & co have for them a more or less glorious past on the routes of July, but the competition is fierce in the escapes and I do not detect in our adventurers-climbers a state of transcendent form, essential to win the victory. . Salvation will pass in my opinion by the heavyweights experienced in the struggle for the overall classification. I’ll even tell you a secret, they’re the kind to dream big. If I whisper the name of Alpe d’Huez in your ear, the date of July 14 comes to mind. The right space-time framework for feather-fed messengers.

Yes, I am necessarily thinking of Thibaut Pinot. The Franc-Comtois knows the place (winner in 2015) and will be able to transcend the heart of the telluric cords. You will reply that the present form of the Vosges does not invite the fiercest optimism. Admittedly, the road, stamped with hundreds of inscriptions in his honor, was not enough to take the Lure climber to the top 30 at the top of the Super Planche des Belles Filles.

However, there is time before this 12th stage and I have not said that I have placed all my pawns on the same horse. Alpe d’Huez will sign the fourth and final act of an alpine ladder that should redistribute a pack of cards. Therefore, it is not excluded to find a Guillaume Martin or a Romain Bardet rejected a few minutes from the podium. If the macadam philosopher is not strictly a “series winner” (only seven professional victories, towards the World Tour), the Auvergne has already tasted the joys of victory on the Tour. Above all, the winner of the last Tour of the Alps has the right wands this year.

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