Tour de France: 'Every time I win it's even better than before' – Pogacar revels in stage six triumph after claiming yellow jersey

By Sports Desk July 07, 2022 86

Tadej Pogacar declared each of his victories feels better than the last after claiming the yellow jersey with a thrilling win over stage six of the Tour de France, stepping up his bid for a third consecutive triumph in the race.

The 23-year-old attacked at the tail end of the climb into Longwy, accelerating away from the peloton to finish ahead of Michael Matthews and David Gaudu and snatch the overall lead from Wout van Aert.

Van Aert did not give up the yellow jersey without a fight, at one stage looking set for an extraordinary solo victory after breaking clear to establish a sizeable lead with 25 kilometres remaining. 

But the Belgian was eventually reeled in by a much-reduced peloton 11km from the finish, with Pogacar's lung-busting late effort allowing him to see off Matthews, Gaudu and the rest of the pack, clinching victory on the race's longest stage. 

With bonus seconds applied, Pogacar now boasts a four-second overall lead over Neilson Powless, and the Slovenian expressed his delight after sealing a victory which looked unlikely for much of the stage.

"Every time I win it's even better than before," he beamed after crossing the line. "It was such a hard day from the start. The first two hours were so crazy.

"The strongest guy was in the break. Many teams were pulling the peloton strongly, our team did it as well. In the end, the peloton was stronger [than Van Aert], but we were not sure to catch him.

"I was feeling good. My team did an incredibly good job to put me in a perfect position. It was not a pure sprint after we rode the last two climbs above threshold.

"I guess I had good legs to push in the end. I don't mind taking the yellow jersey, but I'm above all happy to take the stage win. Everything else is bonus."

Pogacar remains the man to beat

Pogacar began this year's edition of the Tour looking to become just the second rider to triumph on each of his first three appearances in the race (after Eddy Merckx won on each of his first five outings between 1969 and 1974).

While he had to remain patient after Van Aert accelerated away in the early stages here, his triumph – the fifth stage win at the Tour of his career – demonstrated he remains the rider to beat.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 4:27:13
2. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)
4. Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
5. Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 20:44:44
2. Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +0:04
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:31

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 198
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 137
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 89

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) 2
3. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 2

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Last modified on Thursday, 07 July 2022 11:25
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