Vingegaard seizes Tour lead after 1st big mountain stage

Jul 12, 2022, 9:26 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2022, 9:28 am

Stage winner and new overall leader Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard celebrates after crossing the finish line of the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 152 kilometers (94.4 miles) with start in Albertville and finish in Col du Granon Serre Chevalier, France, Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

(94.4 miles)

COL DU GRANON, France (AP) — The first big mountain stage shook things up at the Tour de France as defending champion Tadej Pogacar wilted toward the end of Wednesday’s 11th stage and lost the yellow jersey.

Jonas Vingegaard and his team Jumbo-Visma were the big winners on the stage as the Danish rider claimed the famed jersey from Pogacar, the two-time defending champion who had been the dominant rider so far but cracked in the final ascent on Wednesday and fell more than 2 minutes behind.

Vingegaard and his teammates put on an impressive collective display throughout the day, with clever tactics early in the race and multiple attacks that ultimately unsettled Pogacar.

Vingegaard moved away from Pogacar in the brutal climb to the top of the Col du Granon to enjoy a winning finish to an epic day in the Alps. The 152-kilometer stage featured two other monster ascents, the daunting Col du Telegraphe and Col du Galibier.

It was Vingegaard’s first stage win at cycling’s biggest race. The Danish rider was runner-up last year in the general classification behind Pogacar.

“When I attacked I felt he was going to crack,” Vingegaard said. “This time I wanted victory. And I succeeded, and now I have the yellow jersey to keep on fighting all the way to Paris.”

Vingegaard was first at the summit, 59 seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana, with Romain Bardet in third place, 1:10 behind. Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour winner, was fourth, 1:38 off the pace.

After 11 stages, Vingegaard leads Bardet by 2 minutes, 16 seconds. Pogacar moved down to third, 2:22 back.

With his teammate Primoz Roglic, Vingegaard relentlessly attacked Pogacar in the thin air. But every time they tried to isolate the leader from the UAE-Emirates team on the Galibier — the highest point of this year’s route at 2,642 meters above sea level — the Slovenian rider responded calmly.

Pogacar even smiled at TV cameras at the foot of the punishing final climb. Guided by teammate Rafal Majka, Pogacar rode at the front of the main contenders’ group but the Jumbo-Visma riders’ attrition work finally paid off.

“On the Galibier, over the top, he was very strong,” Vingegaard said. “I was insecure whether he was going full gas or not. Then I thought that, if I didn’t try all out, I was never gonna win. And of course a second place is nice, but I did it last year already.”

When Vingegaard attacked again with 5 kilometers to go, Pogacar just couldn’t respond and got dropped. With his yellow jersey wide open, the battered champion struggled until the end.

Vingegaard said the team’s strategy for the day had been planned months in advance, in a bid to make the most of their strong collective.

“We thought it would go in my favor and in the favor of Primoz,” he said. “I took a lot of time today, and I would have never done it without my teammates. They have been incredible.”

Pogacar will have only a night of sleep to recover from his bad day since Thursday’s Stage 12 is another mammoth stage with three climbs that are beyond category, including a mountain-top finish at the Alpe d’Huez ski resort.

“I want a revenge,” Pogacar said. “It’s not over yet.”

The Tour ends on July 24th in Paris.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie celebrates after scoring a penalty kick against the Hous...
Associated Press

Olivia Moultrie proud of stand she took to play in NWSL

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It’s been a little more than a year since Olivia Moultrie signed with the Portland Thorns after suing to join the National Women’s Soccer League at just 15 years old. For Moultrie, the lasting lesson of her legal odyssey is that women should have the same opportunities to reach the top […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Alex Palou, of Spain, waits in his pits during qualifications for an IndyCar auto race at In...
Associated Press

Column: Palou persevering through Ganassi contract chaos

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The conversation, if one could even call it that, might not have lasted even 10 seconds. It was more of an exchange between Chip Ganassi, who took a moment to congratulate Alex Palou, the driver he is suing because the IndyCar champion is trying to leave his team at the end […]
16 hours ago
Serena Williams, of the United States, returns the ball during a match with Nuria Parrizas-Diaz, of...
Associated Press

Serena Williams earns first win of season in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) — Serena Williams hadn’t won in so long, she said she couldn’t even remember the feeling. She picked up her first victory since the 2021 French Open on Monday, beating Nuria Parrizas-Diaz 6-3, 6-4 at the women’s National Bank Open. “I’m just happy to get a win. It’s been a very long time, […]
16 hours ago
Kevin Harvick celebrates with his daughter Piper after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at t...
Associated Press

Harvick win complicates NASCAR playoff spots in final weeks

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — NASCAR just got more interesting down the stretch. Kevin Harvick won his first Cup race in nearly two years at Michigan International Speedway over the weekend — a result that could mean a driver who has a win getting knocked out of the playoffs. “It creates a big bubble,” Harvick said […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Baseball Hall of Famer and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley applauds during pr...
Associated Press

Hall of Famer Eckersley to leave Red Sox booth after season

BOSTON (AP) — Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley said Monday that he will be leaving the Boston Red Sox broadcasts at the end of the season, his 50th in Major League Baseball. Eckersley, who was drafted by Cleveland as a California high schooler in 1972, went on to pitch 24 seasons as both a […]
2 days ago
Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Day...
Associated Press

Alabama No. 1 in preseason coaches’ poll; Ohio St. 2, UGA 3

Alabama was voted No. 1 in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll released Monday, with Ohio State second and defending national champion Georgia third. The Associated Press preseason Top 25 will be released Aug. 15. The Crimson Tide received 54 first-place votes from a panel of 66 major college football coaches. Alabama is coming off […]
2 days ago
Vingegaard seizes Tour lead after 1st big mountain stage