Without Roglic and Kruijswijk, is the Jumbo-Visma in danger of keeping the yellow jersey?

Each Tour de France rider repeats it to anyone willing to listen: “In three weeks, anything can happen, you are never safe from a day without. “The famous day without, the one where the legs do not turn, where the falls are repeated and where the orange juice ordered in the morning at the hotel has even turned into grapefruit-guava juice. In short, this day when nothing is going in the right direction. The Jumbo-Visma team hopes to have experienced it on Sunday, on the suffocating roads of Occitania, between Rodez and Carcassonne.

In the morning, Primoz Roglic had decided to throw in the towel, dropped in general and touched on the back during the cobblestone stage, when he had hit a bale of hay which had ended up in the middle of the road. During the stage, while the peloton was riding quietly, Steven Kruijsjwijk went down. Right shoulder hit, ambulance called, round over. And then, when we tell you that nothing is going well, Jonas Vingegaard also fell, along with his teammate Tiesj Benoot. Luckily not serious.

Three crazy stages in the Pyrenees

The two runners were able to think about their wound, Monday, on the occasion of the day of rest in the medieval city. “I’m fine, I just have abrasions on my left arm but otherwise everything is ok, wanted to reassure the yellow jersey. It stings a little, but that’s normal after such a fall. “Tiesj Benoot, he got away with the elbow, a good part of the right arm and the knee covered with bandages. Limping, the Belgian still went to stretch his legs with his little buddies under the Aude dodger.

Two fewer men and more wounds. This is how the Jumbo-Visma will approach the last week of the Tour de France, with a single objective: to keep the yellow jersey of Jonas Vingegaard (the green jersey of Wout Van Aert is no longer a subject, even if the Belgian always tends to go to putty to scrape two more dots). And with the three Pyrenean stages which are announced from this Tuesday, as much to say that it will be cotton for the Dutch team. In another genre, it will surely be necessary to achieve another masterstroke, after that of Granon, to keep the leader’s tunic.

“We are in the area where the blows will rain”

“At the Tour de France, you always have to anticipate, reacted Merijn Zeeman, the sports director of Jumbo-Visma, on Monday. In the Alps, we had to come up with a plan, because I read that the Tour was already decided. This is where we reversed the situation. Now we are [dans la situation inverse], in the corner where the blows will rain. “Because, there is no doubt that Tadej Pogacar and his entire team, now on a numerical equal with the Jumbo (6 riders in each team), will prepare a plan to catch up.

We can clearly see the Slovenian attacking this Tuesday in the wall of Péguère, to then assert his qualities as a descender which will allow him to regain some time in Foix. The Col de Spandelles-Hautacam sequence on Thursday could also allow the double winner of the Tour to attack from afar to undermine Jonas Vingegaard. “I have to seize every opportunity and attack as soon as possible, on each climb, said Pogi on Monday. Attack close, from afar, I will try everything. Because I have a lot of catching up to do. There will be opportunities. In three days, a lot can happen. »

A scenario like during the Granon stage

The Jumbo-Visma therefore expects major maneuvers from this Tuesday. And even with two less big motors in the mountains, she does not intend to be defeated. “The Tour is a brutal competition, you have to deal with it and we do it, indicated Merijn Zeeman. It’s not over yet. Tadej Pogacar will fight until his last breath, as will Ineos-Grenadiers, who have three men in the top 10. We have never underestimated them and we will not. »

If he has always been in the game, Geraint Thomas still seems a degree weaker than the two monsters Pogacar and Vingegaard. Asked about the competition for third place, the Welshman quickly dismissed everyone in his 22: “I’m not looking back. It’s a three week race, not 15 stages, anything can still happen. Everything can change on the last day in the Pyrenees. Pogacar seems determined to attack at all times. We could see another Galibier-type day, when they were going all out. »

So, to master all these beautiful people, the five survivors of the Jumbo-Visma will have to do a monster job for their leader. And the tactic already seems clear. Like a Spanish customs officer who filters the cars at the top of the Perthus, the Dutch team will distribute exit vouchers in dribs and drabs. “The hardest part will be the start of the stages, especially since there are fewer of us, confided the verdant Wout Van Aert. It will be necessary to check that there are no dangerous runners. And if Jonas has the same legs as from the beginning, we just have to place him well in the end. Exactly what the UAE team thought before the Alps. We know the rest. But not the end yet.

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