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He earned it with a victory in Longwy which he didn’t expect. Asked why he didn’t want to wait for La Planche des Belles Filles in the post-race press conference, he replied: “No, I wait for it, it’s just I go with the flow.
“Today, the team in believed in me, now I’m super happy to take the win today. For sure, I did not imagine it before the start.”
At the end, Pogačar outsprinted Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ). “It was not a pure sprint because we rode the last two climbs really hard, it was above our thresholds … I guess I had good legs to push in the end,” he said at the finish.
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Pogačar gains from bold Van Aert move
He was a beneficiary of Jumbo-Visma star Wout van Aert’s decision to go in the day’s breakaway, losing the race lead after being dropped.
“Only three guys, two in the end, was not a perfect scenario for them, ten guys or something like this would be,” he said. “We could control it in the bunch.”
Pogačar is already 31 seconds up on his closest expected challenger, Jonas Vingegaard, coming off stages with cobbles, potential crosswinds and the Copenhagen time trial.
Satisfied after six stages
“So far, so good for us,” he said, reflecting on the first six stages. “Tomorrow, we enter the climbing part of the Tour, we have a lot this year. We’re in a good position to defend the yellow jersey for the next days.”
There could be more to celebrate on La Planche des Belles Filles at the end of stage 7, the seven-kilometer final climb. Pogačar talked of his desire to go for the stage win, adding: “I really like the climb, I have really nice memories, but it’s going to be even more special because my family will be there and my girlfriend will be at the top. I just cannot wait to go there.”
This could be the start of 15 stages in the maillot jaune for Pogačar as he seeks a third Tour de France title, two more stages in yellow than in the past. “You never know how things will go. We will do everything we can to defend the jersey till the end,” he said.