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MENDE, France (VN) – Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) shot Jumbo-Visma a warning of his Pyrénéan intentions on the roads to Mende.
Pogačar went on the attack out of the start gate and didn’t let off as he stretched and squeezed Jonas Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma teammates under the searing Occitanie sun on stage 14 of the Tour de France.
“In the end, I know how good each one of them is. I’m looking forward to the Pyrénées,” Pogačar said with a glint in his eye after the stage Saturday.
“Today I got a lot of information. It’s not going to be easy days for Jumbo tomorrow and in the next days.”
Pogačar and Vingegaard finished on par atop the Mende airstrip after the defending champion laid a warning of things to come in the opening hours of a hot, hilly day in southern France.
Shed of the burden of yellow and with little to lose at 2:22 back, the two-time-defending champion went off the leash with a wild early attack that ripped up the GC-racers’ script.
“Vingegaard is under pressure,” Pogačar told reporters. “I know how it is in the yellow, you’re under pressure every time. You don’t think about attacking you always think about defending – it’s a different mindset. Their team needs to work really hard, and we can lay back and plan the attacks.”
🤍 @TamauPogi is already trying to break up the peloton, 💛 Jonas Vingegaard has to chase the surprise attack back
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 16, 2022
Pogačar uncorked an early move that drew Wout van Aert to his wheel and forced yellow jersey Vingegaaard to follow.
Primož Roglič popped after his days playing domestique as Pogačar wreaked ruthless revenge for the hammering Jumbo-Visma wrought on the Galibier and Granon.
“I don’t know if they’re scared, that’s not a good word, but I know for sure they’re locked on my wheel and they will not let me go easily,” Pogačar said.
Jumbo-Visma was forced to stitch the race together through the mid-section of the race as it shook out the daze of Pogačar’s early blitz, setting up Vingegaard and Pogačar for a final wheel-on-wheel winching up the mega-wall to Mende.
Pogačar suggested he could have cranked harder on the climb toward the airstrip Saturday and maybe scrambled back some seconds. But for “Terminator Tadej,” Saturday was just a micro-view of what’s to come.
“Maybe tomorrow on the stage to Carcassonne, maybe we’ll try already there,” he said. “The legs are good and I feel good. The team is good and I can’t wait for the Pyrénées.”
Three days in the rugged green climbs of the southwest start Tuesday. Jumbo-Visma has been warned.