Jonas Vingegaard takes a commanding lead at the Tour de France, virtually ensuring his final victory, while Felix Gall steals the show in stage 17. Tadej Pogacar, once a fierce contender, faces a dramatic downfall after a disastrous day on the mountains.
Gall’s Solo Triumph and Vingegaard’s Steady Ascend
After nearly 2,700km of the Tour de France, the contenders Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar seemed almost inseparable. However, in just 48 hours of mountain racing, Vingegaard has managed to establish a definitive lead over Pogacar. The Slovenian rider’s hopes of catching up were dashed on the gruelling stretch of the 2,304m Col de la Loze, causing him to radio to his team car, “I’m gone, I’m dead.”
Austrian rider Felix Gall of the AG2R Citroën team stole the limelight by soloing to victory in Courchevel. He broke away at the foot of the Loze and held his lead over Simon Yates, delivering a spectacular finish in Courchevel altiport.
The Pogacar Downfall and the Vingegaard Controversy
Meanwhile, Pogacar experienced one of his “worst days on the bike” after an innocuous tumble earlier in the day. He stated he “just couldn’t go today,” slipping behind the yellow jersey group. Pogacar now hopes to recover and aim for another stage win on stage 20 with teammate Adam Yates.
Amid the drama, Vingegaard’s progress was blocked on a steep bend towards the top of the Loze due to a mob of fans and race vehicles. Despite the interruption, Vingegaard now sits 7 minutes and 35 seconds ahead of Pogacar, suggesting a likely final victory for the Danish rider.
Vingegaard’s domination has not been without controversy. When asked about possible performance enhancements, his sports director Grischa Niermann said, “Jonas had 10 controls in the last three days. He cannot prove more. There is no performance‑enhancing stuff, which is not allowed, and I’m 100% putting my fingers in the fire for that.”
Despite a stalled motorbike causing a temporary standstill, Vingegaard’s relentless quest for glory remains unscathed. Even in face of an implosion by Pogacar, the Dane seems to have secured his second Tour de France title, pushing on towards victory.
The Austrian debutant Gall has become the one to watch after a significant victory on the queen stage of the Tour. With this, he has moved up to the eighth position in the standings and is only six points behind Italy’s Giulio Ciccone in the king of the mountains standings.
As the Tour de France unfolds, Vingegaard’s unprecedented dominance looms large over the event. But the focus will also be on whether Gall can continue his surprising performance. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Pogacar to see if he can recover from his recent setback.