weak, Pogacar saves his yellow jersey after a 10th stage madness

Tadej Pogacar holds the yellow for 11 small seconds. CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / REUTERS

Protesters, heat wave, sprint … The turbulent tenth stage of the Grande Boucle was marked by the victory of Magnus Cort Nielsen but also the maintenance in extremis of Tadej Pogacar in Yellow.

Special correspondents in Megève

An uncontrollable day. 36.7 kilometers from the arrival in Megève, seven chained activists, calling on the public to “enter the civil resistanceand with T-shirts that say “There are 989 days lefthe sat down in the middle of the road, just before Alberto Bettiol passed. Alone in the lead, the Italian managed to zigzag among the militants before being stopped by the direction of the race, opting for the neutralization of the stage (about twelve minutes), time of evacuation of the protesters.

It was an unexpected and inopportune stop. We know that on the Tour de France route, which is a big sounding board, this sometimes happens … The stage could be developed in the end normally as the situation was relatively clear with a group of getaways that they had good leadershipsummed up Christian Prudhomme, director of the event.

At the end of this turbulent day, overwhelmed by the heat, there was talk again of the Danish Magnus Cort Nielsen. From Roskilde to Sonderborg, he had been a hit in Denmark, with his pink bike, laughing mustache, and naughty envy. A daring that allows him to dress the polka dot jersey as a second skin (before losing it after the 8th stage), then quickly find the taste for escape. At the end of a hectic final during which he was unhooked, before being able to put the pieces back, he was able to carry out an undecided hand-to-hand with the Australian Nicolas Schultz to get his second victory in the Tour (after of Carcassonne in 2018).

Magnus Cort Nielsen takes over

When Tadej Pogacar and Wout van Aert, the yellow and green jerseys do not require it all, Magnus Cort Nielsen takes over. The line barely crossed, collapsed, bloodless. “It’s crazy. It’s better than a dream. Having the polka dot t-shirt in Denmark and a stage victory here is exceptional. There is a difference between waiting, dreaming and achieving a goal.»

Installed at the top of the general classification since the 6th stage, Tadej Pogacar would have liked to breathe a little. The Yellow Jersey sees, in fact, how his nearby guard is melting. He successively lost the Norwegian Vegard Strake Laengen (before the 8th stage) and the New Zealander George Bennett (before the 10th stage), given positive in the Covid test, the Polish Rafal Majka, also positive but asymptomatic, after having been allowed to stay in the race. . A few days ago, Tadej Pogacar said: “Covid is not a rival but a parameter that can affect things. It can ruin the Tour.»

The Col du Granon, the first since 1986

In these circumstances, the Slovenian who remains 11 seconds with the yellow mesh would have wanted, if only for one day, to cede the reins of the race, to offer some respite to an exposed group that will have to rise on guard during the nostalgic visit offered to climb to the top of the Col du Granon where the Tour de France has only ventured once, in 1986. That year, Bernard Hinault lost his 78th and last yellow jersey. The Breton (13th on the stage, gave 3.21 minutes to Greg LeMond and gave the prized jersey to his American teammate). Hinault crashes: “It is a pass that is not easy. The difficulty is that the percentage is the same all the time. There is no time when you can recover. You need to always be in touch.»

These are images that have marked the history of the Tour“, presented Christian Prudhomme when presenting the course in October. Since then, this step and its part of mystery have occupied minds …

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