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Thursday, July 14, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark. - Muhammad Ali

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Tour de France stage eleven reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner and new GC leader Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard has taken his first stage victory in the Tour de France in beautiful fashion. With a splendid attack, the Dane of Team Jumbo-Visma rode away from his competitors on the Col du Granon. Five kilometres later, he arrived solo at the finish line. Vingegaard is also the new yellow jersey wearer after his resounding victory.

Jonas Vingegaard turned his first Tour de France stage win into the yellow jersey. Sirotti photo

The peloton had to cross several alpine giants in the challenging eleventh stage. After the Col du Télegraphe and the Col du Galibier, the subsequent Col du Granon was labeled decisive. His teammates perfectly dropped off Vingegaard at the foot of the final climb. It was all part of Team Jumbo-Visma’s plan, which gave the competition a hard time for hours.

“The team rode a fantastic stage”, Vingegaard said. The Dane was part of a plan in which his team tried to hurt the competition. It resulted in a man-to-man fight on the penultimate climb. On the ascent of the Col du Granon, Vingegaard kept quiet for a while. At about five kilometers from the finish, the Dane turned the race on its head.

Vingegaard's attack proved too much for his rivals. “I felt the competition was struggling after my attack. The moment I rode in front, I felt our plan worked well. I am so incredibly grateful to my teammates. When a great champion like Primoz sacrifices himself in service of me, I can only look at that with great admiration”, Vingegaard made his gratitude clear.

His third win of the season meant Vingegaard was handed the yellow jersey. “This is what I dreamed of as a child. It’s nice to be second in the general classification, but the podium’s highest step is the absolute goal. We now have the yellow jersey and will do everything we can to bring it to Paris. We will keep fighting until the last metre. Fortunately, I feel empowered by a powerful team”, Vingegaard referred to Team Jumbo-Visma’s Tour selection, which has now recorded twenty-nine victories this season.

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Here's the report from Tadej Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates:

The eleventh stage of the Tour de France saw the riders face their first real Alpine challenge, with 151.7km from Albertville to Col du Granon which saw an exciting stage play out with Tadej Pogačar letting go of the yellow jersey.

Halfway through the stage at Col du Galibier, Pogaçar was had to defend himself from numerous attacks by the Jumbo-Visma riders, with Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard taking turns to attack the maillot jaune.

With less than 10km from the finish, the Slovenian was once again able to count on the help of Rafal Majka in tackling the last ascent to Col du Granon, but was unable, shortly after, to respond to the attack of the Jumbo Dane.

Rafal Majka leads Pogacar on the Col du Granon. Sirotti photo

In the last 5 km, in fact, Vingegaard detached everyone, taking back the last of the breakaway and going on to win the stage.

Pogačar finished the stage in seventh position 2’51 back, thus losing the Yellow Jersey and now sitting in third place in the General Classification.

Pogačar: “On the Galibier I felt very good and managed to defend myself from the many attacks of the Jumbo-Visma riders. On the last climb, however, I did not find the necessary strength to respond and I suffered a lot. Jumbo did a great job tactically speaking, and it is not easy for us to manage it as we are missing two riders.

"It was a difficult day but I want to give my best until the end because there are still many stages to decide this Tour ”.

Tomorrow the Grand Boucle offers another challenging stage: 156km from Briancon to Alpe d’Huez with very little plain and continuous ups and downs.

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Here's the report from third-place Romain Bardet's Team DSM:

Touted as one of the toughest stages of the race; four famous ascents and roughly 4000 metres of elevation gain awaited the peloton this afternoon as they rolled out of Albertville this afternoon. With a flatter start, the speeds were high as lots of teams and riders looked to make the day’s breakaway. Eventually after a plethora of attacks, a large group of 20 riders formed out front and quickly built up their lead.

With all Team DSM riders in the peloton focus remained on looking after finisher Romain Bardet, keeping him safe and conserving as much energy as possible for what was to come. With the picturesque Lacets de Montvernier covered, next up was the Col de Télégraphe where a strong pace was set in the GC group and it became a race of attrition. Approaching the top of the climb, the yellow jersey group was down to around 30 riders with Bardet, Chris Hamilton and Andreas Leknessund still well up there for the team.

Over the top of the climb a dangerous move went clear including GC contenders Pogacar, Roglic, Vingegaard and Thomas. Getting a gap of almost one minute, Hamilton set a strong pace in the chasing group on the next ascent of the Col du Galibier and all-but closed the gap before other teams pitched in to help and contact was made. With the steep ramps continuing and the ascent unrelenting, a hard tempo split the group with Bardet riding brilliantly to make the initial move of eight, which further thinned down as the kilometres ticked by. Digging deep, Bardet fought back after the yellow jersey made a move and even went on the attack himself; before ultimately cresting the climb just behind the “leading” duo of Pogacar and Vingegaard.

On the high speed descent it was tough to create a gap and several riders returned as the race charged towards the foot of the Col du Granon, with lone leader Barguil maintaining a three minute and 45 second advantage at ten kilometres to go. With the kilometres counting down, the yellow jersey group thinned in size as Quintana launched a counter attack; with Bardet still in the now group of six.

Approaching five kilometres to go Bardet launched a stinging attack, going clear of the yellow jersey and in pursuit of Quintana who had now caught Barguil. Riding strongly, Bardet quickly built up a gap before Vingegaard launched his move behind and bridged across. Bardet rode at his own speed as Vingegaard increased the tempo once more; with riders in ones in twos all over the road.

On the Col du Granon: Pogacar leads Vingegaard and Bardet. Sirotti photo

Giving his all to the finish, Bardet crested the Col du Granon to take a brilliant and hard-fought third place for Team DSM – on what was a stage for the ages.

“It was a really hard day and as expected it was the first big GC day,” explained Bardet after the finish. “We didn’t expect it would go that hard on the Col de Télégraphe, but I was still with Chris and he did a super good job bringing me back to the front. It was then all about the legs and I’m quite happy with the day. Now it’s onto tomorrow because it will be another big battle.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a good stage today for us. We looked to put a guy in the break to support Romain, going all-in for the stage result, but we also knew today would shape the GC a little bit. Romain had a super stage and did a really good job on the last mountain but also the ones before that. He rode at a good pace and his own tempo and came through the stage in a really nice way. We expect tomorrow will be another hard day again.”

Here’s the race update from Geraint Thomas’ Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates finished a superb fourth and sixth on a memorable stage 11 at the Tour de France.

Both Grenadiers were able to overhaul the yellow jersey of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) on the final climb of an epic test that will go down as one of the most exciting stages in years.

Geraint Thomas on the Col du Granon. Sirotti photo

Thomas was able to force his way into a select move as the race exploded early following the Col du Telegraphe, and despite being distanced on a couple of occasions, the Welshman finished strongly to take fourth on the stage. He now sits 1:38 back on winner and new race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Yates was able to regain contact with the lead group, including Thomas, on the descent off the subsequent Col du Galibier. The Brit dug deep to finish sixth, again passing Pogacar in the final kilometres. Thomas and Yates also occupy fourth and sixth overall, 2:26 and 3:06 back on Vingegaard respectively.

Tom Pidcock also continued to impress in his Tour debut. The youngster limited his losses and remains well placed in 11th overall, also ensuring the Grenadiers extended their lead on the Team GC.

On the final climb of the Col du Granon Thomas was forced to take off in pursuit of Romain Bardet (Team DSM). The Frenchman elevated himself to second overall, but the gap from second to Thomas in fourth is just 10 seconds.

Rod Ellingworth:
"It was a good day for the team, I think for Geraint the way he rode, he showed he’s a smart guy. He never put himself in the red and he’s done a good ride.

"He’s dropped down to fourth on GC, but in the overall scheme of things it’s still a pretty strong position. Adam has also done well, he clawed his way back after dropping back on the Telegraphe.

"There’s a long way to go, tomorrow’s going to be a tough day for everyone to recover. The key thing now is recovery, and who will recover best - I’m sure there’s going to be some sore legs out there tomorrow. The one thing about G is that he’s a real ‘stayer’, he plays the long game, he’ll be pretty strong mentally after that. He’s been in a good place since the start of this bike race and we’re pretty happy with today, we’ll take that."

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Here's the report from David Gaudu's Team Groupama-FDJ:

The first big fight of the Tour de France is now behind, and David Gaudu is still in the game. This Wednesday, the riders experienced and brought one of the most exciting stages of recent years. Towards the Col du Granon, through theTélégraphe and the Galibier, the fight for the yellow jersey proved to be extremely tough.

David Gaudu on the Col du Granon. Sirotti photo

It ended up with Jonas Vingegaard taking the win and the lead. David Gaudu suffered for most of the day but got the tremendous support of his teammates and eventually put on a superb ride on the final kilometres to take 5th! A crazy day to say the last, as the finish in Alpe d’Huez looms on Thursday. The Frenchman will tackle it as seventh overall, less than a minute from the podium.

The decisive moment had come. Although the first ten days of racing were extremely tiring, the first major battle between the general classification contenders was supposed to take placethis Wednesday between Albertville and the heights of Serre-Chevalier. No less than 4000 meters of elevation were spread over the last hundred kilometres of a relatively short stage, with a sequence featuring the Col du Télégraphe, the Col du Galibier and the Col du Granon, which was set to makesignificant damage.

A breakaway of around twenty men tackled the first of these three climbs nine minutes ahead of the peloton, but the big moves started earlier than expected in the back. Already in the Col du Télégraphe, team Jumbo-Visma tried to destabilize the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar, who found himself isolated and attacked in the transition to the Col du Galibier.

Nevertheless, the favourite group got back together after a very lively moment. David Gaudu regained his place up there, along with Valentin Madouas and Michael Storer, before being distanced a few kilometresfurther after another acceleration. The Frenchman then hung on behind his two mates. “We were expecting a big fight today or tomorrow, or even both, and we therefore had to be mentally ready to face this frantic pace”, explained Philippe Mauduit. “This morning, we decided to ride conservatively, to follow as long as possible, but above all to not go over our limits because it was a difficult stage with difficult weather conditions”.

“It was a crazy stage, from start to finish”, said David. “I wasn’t feeling so good at the start of the stage, and in the Galibier in particular. I felt from the Telegraph that I did not have the best legs, so I managed my strength as much as I could, and I found myself with Valentin and Michael. I managed to keep calm and I had an incredible team. I always had teammates next to me, and Philippe on the radio to guide us. I am nothing without the team today. If they’re not there, I’m maybe 20 minutes down in the general standings tonight.”

At the top of the Col du Galibier, the young climber was about two minutes behind the Pogacar-Vingegaard duo. However, thanks to a poor cooperation in the front and a great work in the chase by Michael Storer and Valentin Madouas, togetherwith Van Aert later on, everything was back to normal before the last climb: the Col du Granon (11.4 km at 9.1%). Within a very small yellow jersey group, the fight resumed from the first slopes and David Gaudu immediately lost a few meters on his main rivals.

“Once you are at the bottom of the last climb with only fifteen guys, you no longer have the right to give up”, he said. “Today was more of a fight in the head than in the legs, but I couldn’t give up. My mates have been doing a huge work for eleven days, everyone gives more than 100%, and everyone ends up exhausted everyday. So, when you find yourself in such a position, you must not give up. You think of them, and you think of Marc, who gave you his confidence”.
Beyond the fighting spirit, David Gaudu and his teammates also proved clear-headed as they approached the final climb with a precise plan. “I expected some riders to explode, I told myself that some were going to blow after having fought so much”, added David. “At the bottom, I told Valentin that it was going to be a time trial, and we actually did a team time trial”.

Behind the yellow jersey group, David Gaudu therefore did not crack, surrounded by his two bodyguards. “The bottomof the Granon was super-fast, and we told them not to try to hold on, but rather to try to manage the climb well as a whole”, added Philippe. “The guys were strong mentally, and David trusts his teammates. He knows they are there for him and that they’re doing a great job. He is not afraid to let himself get distances at times so as not to go over his limits.It’s not a tactic that we will use every day, but I am convinced that it was the right one to use today if we did not have the legs to go for the win. And I think they managed their effort really well throughout the day.”

Therefore, when Jonas Vingegaard got rid of Tadej Pogacar halfway through the climb, David Gaudu also decided to attack to achieve the best finish possible. “I told myself that I had to go 5-6 kilometresfrom the summit, and this is also the moment when they attacked each other in front”, he said. “They found themselves one by one on the climb, I saw them ahead, and I wanted to go get them. They had also put in a lot of effort beforehand, and that leveled the strengths on this last climb.”

David Gaudu first caught Alexey Lutsenko, Aleksandr Vlasov, then even joined the yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar, in trouble, with two kilometres to the top. He immediately dropped him, also distanced himself from Adam Yates, before going to net a very fine fifth place on the line, two minutes behind the winner and new leader Vingegaard.

“We managed the climb really well,” said David. “In the end, I felt pretty good in the final and caught all the guys I could catch. I’m happy with my day.” Although he lost one spot in the general classification, in which he now sits seventh, David Gaudu paradoxically came closer to the podium. Six riders found themselves within a minute behind the new leader, but the finish in the Alpe d’Huez on Thursday should bring new changes. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow,” David concluded. “It’s July 14, our national holiday. It’s an iconicfinish, the one that marked me as a kid when I was watching the Tour. In addition, Thibaut already won there. It’s a very special stage.”

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