Brit Tom Pidcock became the youngest man to win a Tour de France stage at Alpe d’Huez, while the overall podium standings shifted again in the French Alps on Thursday.
“It made my Tour de France,” said Pidcock, a 22-year-old in his first Tour, a year after winning the Olympic mountain bike title. “If I get dropped every other day now, I don’t care.”
Pidcock won from a breakaway by 48 seconds over South African Louis Meintjes. Chris Froome, a four-time Tour winner, finished third for his best Tour stage result since career-threatening crash injuries in 2019.
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Behind them, two-time defending Tour champ Tadej Pogacar twice attacked race leader Jonas Vingegaard on the 21 switchbacks of the Alpe d’Huez, a day after Vingegaard took the yellow jersey from Pogacar.
The Dane Vingegaard responded to each of Pogacar’s surges and crossed the finish line Thursday in the same time as Pogacar.
“After yesterday I didn’t have the best legs today,” said Vingegaard, who on Wednesday won a summit finish stage, distancing Pogacar by nearly three minutes. “I didn’t feel bad, but I think everyone was suffering so much in the heat. It was such a hard race. Today, I didn’t think about taking additional time. I was just thinking about maintaining the gap on everyone, on Tadej.”
Vingegaard remains 2 minutes, 22 seconds ahead of Pogacar as the Tour goes back to a flat stage on Friday for the first time in 12 days.
Pogacar said he cracked on Wednesday because he was “a little bit stupid” putting too much energy into the penultimate climb of that day’s stage. He’s looking forward to next week, when the Tour will be decided in the Pyrenees and in an individual time trial.
“Today I have my legs back,” the Slovenian said. “I tried [to attack Vingegaard], but with not 100 percent confidence because of yesterday. I think I can go [with my] head up, motivated, for the next week.”
Frenchman Romain Bardet, who was in second place going into Thursday’s stage, dropped into fourth place overall, behind 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas.
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