Are the losses of Roglic and Kruijswijk a disaster for Vingegaard?
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Still going to lose a Roglic who couldn’t take it anymore for a few days and who was touched in his flesh. But losing Kruijswijk, one of the best climbers in this formation, Vingegaard’s experienced lieutenant, before the very mountainous last week, is much more perilous.
Vingegaard on the ground: no breakage but a scare for the yellow jersey
This may not change anything in the balance of power between the Dane and Pogacar, it is possible. But, as the Slovenian himself points out when referring to their respective formations: “We can now say that we are equal“. And that changes a lot of things. And maybe even everything.
Mathematically, Tadej Pogacar is right. Technically, Jean-Baptiste is not far from the truth either. Yes, the withdrawals of Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk are a blow to the strength of the Jumbo-Visma. This asset which, in part, tipped the race in the Granon stage when Tadej Pogacar started chasing Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic. Does this mean a switchover before the third week?
If Tadej Pogacar wants to triple the bet on the Tour, he will have to be stronger than Jonas Vingegaard, not than the Jumbo-Visma. Admittedly, his task is made easier if he wants to blow up the race far from the finish. But the end result will be to let go of his Danish opponent. And to resist in the off-category passes at the end of the Tour, neither Roglic, nor Kruijswijk, nor anyone else could help Vingegaard anyway. We saw it at the Granon and quickly at the Alpe too, on these climbs, the team members move away quickly and the difference is made on the pedal between the general’s favourites.
Vingegaard: ‘I just have scratches but it’s a very bad day for us’
Who is the best sprinter on the Tour?
Fabio Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Jasper Philipsen, and why not Wout van Aert, who it should be remembered finished second in the three massive sprints of the Tour, or even Mads Pedersen there is a lot to choose from. More in any case than in 2021 when Mark Cavendish posed as the indisputable holder of the post. I reject the candidacy of the green jersey which lacks success in the exercise. And I crown… Fabio Jakobsen best sprinter of this Tour 2022 after 15 stages.
Jakobsen strikes from the first sprint: the finish of the 2nd stage
The Dutchman struck first, giving him a very, very slight advantage over the rest. Above all, his success at Nyborg had suffered from no possible challenge. His sense of superiority had hinted at Cavendish domination. Nothing happened since the next day Dylan Groenewegen had returned the favor. So why not the latter?
Sonderborg’s sprint had been more chaotic than its predecessor the day before, which, among other things, allowed the BikeExchange riders to win and prevented Jakobsen from sprinting. As for Jasper Philipsen, I salute his regularity but this Sunday, he did not beat Jakobsen, who had been eliminated, and dominated an exhausted Groenewegen.
Is Fabio Jakobsen the best sprinter in the world (and therefore potentially of the entries)? It’s possible. Is he the best sprinter on this 109th edition? No. In any case, it seems impossible to crown him with a single sprint in which he was able to truly express himself. For me, the best sprinter of this Tour 2022 is Jasper Philipsen.
Cruel for Thomas, enjoyable for Philipsen: the last kilometer in video
It is obviously not a question of making him the strongest of all intrinsically, but the Belgian did not leave the top 5 of “flat” arrivals at the start of the Tour (5th at Nyborg, 3rd at Sonderborg and 2nd at Calais ) and, beyond the raw result, the sprinter from Alpecin-Deceuninck was the one who left the greatest impression of top speed in the package. But his placement left something to be desired. This was not the case this Sunday in Carcassonne where he was perfectly stuck in the wheel of Pedersen. And there was no debate.
We can always complain about the freshness of Groenewegen, about the non-presence of Jakobsen, but knowing how to be present, to pass the bumps, is in my opinion more a quality than a defect. Including for a sprinter. But if Philipsen wants to close the debate, he knows what he has to do: win on the Champs-Elysées in a week.
Which stage in the Pyrenees are we most looking forward to?
I like the reduced format of Peyragudes but I’m afraid that it will lead to a waiting race, because of its terrifying final (300m at 12%) but, above all, because of the fact that it is not not the last stage in the Pyrenees. The Hautacam stage will not suffer from this pitfall. The Aubisque-Spandelles-Hautacam sequence is, in my opinion, one of the best in the Pyrenees.
The profile of the 18th stage: Aubisque and Hautacam, final bouquet in the mountains
The length of Aubisque (16km) associated with the difficulty of Spandelles (10.3km at 8.3%) offers a perfect playground for big maneuvers, especially since the descent of the latter is very technical and perilous. . Unprecedented on the Tour, the Col de Spandelles promises to be a huge construction site and you will have to be placed at the foot, otherwise you will have great difficulty going up, on the narrow road of the ascent. And we must not forget Hautacam.
If the final climb spoils the previous sequence a little, it remains one of the most difficult climbs of the Tour, with an irregular slope that can make the best climbers explode. Its three passes will be linked in just 83 km, with barely four flat in all and for all on this section. With the fatigue accumulated on this daunting Tour and during the first two Pyrenean opuses, this 18th stage has everything from the ideal day to overthrow the general. Then it will be too late.
Of course Hautacam is a historic ascent as much as a name that catches the ear more than Peyragudes. Of course, the passage to Aubisque affects me, I have always found this pass scarier than many others on the Tour (don’t ask me why…). But here’s why I’m looking forward to the Peyragudes stage more than the next day.
The profile of the 17th stage: Short but (very) muscular
In Foix, the favorites should arrive together. The gaps, relatively large at the top (2’22 ” between Pogacar and Vingegaard) and very limited just below (2’02 ” between Pogacar 2nd and Gaudu 8th). Before the Peyragudes stage, there will be a strong smell of fireworks. The short format, the sumptuous landscapes (Lac de Payolle…) and the oh so difficult arrival in the terrible percentages towards the altiport, so many reasons to wait impatiently for the 17th stage. And if Romain Bardet could, as a bonus, repeat the coup of 2017 and afford the stage he so desires…
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