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FOIX, France (VN) – Former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador believes that Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) must attack Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) every day if he wants to defend his title from last year.
Pogačar currently sits second overall, 2:22 behind Vingegaard after cracking on the Col du Granon on stage 11.
“I think that Pogačar will need to try every day. That’s what he needs to do if he wants to win the Tour de France. Vingegaard is solid and strong but sometimes the leader has a bad day and if you don’t try…” Contador, who is commentating for Eurosport/GCN, told VeloNews at the start of stage 16 in Carcassonne.
The Spaniard also pointed to the fact that Jumbo-Visma lost two riders on stage 15 and that they are now down to six riders, the same number as UAE Team Emirates.
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The Dutch team looked superior to all their rivals in the first two weeks of the race but the loss of Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk has dampened their ability in the race as the Tour moves into the Pyrenees.
“Jumbo isn’t the same team that it was a week ago. And that gives more options for attacks, not just on the last climb but maybe before,” Contador said.
“Pogačar can try and put Vingegaard under pressure earlier and then Vingegaard has to take control. Also, Geraint Thomas can attack, and that would give Pogačar a good wheel to follow. There are many scenarios.”
Vingegaard has looked unstoppable in the last week. He withstood everything that Pogačar threw at him on Alpe d’Huez and the stage to Mende. The Danish rider even looked like he could have attacked on both of those stages rather than just marking his main rival.
There is still some doubt about Vingegaard’s ability to handle pressure and this is the first time in his career that he has been at the front of a grand tour.
“I don’t know if Vingegaard will crack but every rider can have a bad day. And why not him? Pogačar can also have one. It will be interesting to see how they compare in the time trial though. They are both good against the climb but it will be interesting to see whether wearing the yellow jersey is good for Vingegaard or not. He’s still a new rider and this experience is new for him,” Contador added.