Defending champion, Tadej Pogacar claimed a second stage win in as many days after a dominant performance in the final mountain stage of this year’s Tour de France.
The peerless Pogacar now has a hat-trick of stage wins at the 2021 Tour after claiming victory on Luz Ardiden finishing ahead of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).
The UAE Team Emirates leader, in a similar fashion to yesterday’s stage, responded expertly to the accelerations of his counterparts as Enris Mas (Movistar) attempted a flurry of attacks inside the final 1km.
With 400km to go, Pogacar kicked on leaving Carapaz, Mas and Vingegaard unable to match the pace set by the champion as he glided to the finish line with time to look back at his two main rivals and revel in his back-to-back success.
The whitewash now means Pogacar has an advantage of five minutes and 45 seconds over second place Vingegaard with only one flat stage and a time trial to negotiate before Paris. The win also means that Pogacar secures the polka dot jersey in addition to extending his lead in yellow.
Pogacar said: “It’s unbelievable… after yesterday and then today, I don’t know – I felt good and I’m really happy with the win … it’s crazy. It’s a game for me, of course, it’s been a game since I started [cycling] and I’m enjoying playing it, yes, I’m super happy… maybe 50 per cent chance [of winning the Tour] it’s still three days, but it looks good… Today was super hard … I just tried to forget about everything and focus on the job at hand.”
General classification after stage 18
- Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 75:00:02
- Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 00:05:45
- Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:05:51