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Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won his second Tour de France stage in two days but he was pushed all the way by last year’s runner-up Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) who attacked in the last few hundred meters of La Planche des Belles Filles with only Pogačar able to follow and narrowly beat him on the line.
The GC picture below Pogačar and his yellow jersey changed considerably on the first summit finish of the 2022 race with all of his main rivals losing time.
It was UAE Team Emirates that set the tempo on the 7km climb with Brandon McNulty and George Bennett doing the majority of the work on the lower slopes before Rafal Majka took over towards the steepest sections of the brutal climb.
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By the time Majka began to set the pace a number of high-profile GC riders had already been dropped.
Chris Froome, who won a Tour de France stage on the same climb back in 2012, was distanced with 6km to go, but it was Ben O’Connor slipping out the back with 4.3km to go that really caught the eye. The Australian will now have to target stage wins after his GC challenge totally ended today.
Bennett’s pace-setting was enough to see off Thibaut Pinot and then Aleksandr Vlasov, who had looked impressive throughout the first week, and especially on the cobbles stage.
David Gaudu was then distanced on the steepest sections that capped out at 20 percent, leaving the front group to just over a handful of riders.
Pogačar was ushered to the front, and his pace was enough to reel in the last man standing from the break, Lennard Kämna, who would have to settle for fourth.
Ineos had already seen Dani Martínez dropped before the final dash for the line but it was still a surprise to see Adam Yates lose contact when Vingegaard kicked and Pogačar went after him. The Dane looked to have the better of the yellow jersey but Pogačar made the catch just as the gradient eased before taking the win.
🏆💛🇸🇮 @TamauPogi wins at La Super Planche des Belles-Filles.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 8, 2022
Primož Roglič came home in third at 12 seconds with the next GC rider Geraint Thomas in fifth at 14 seconds.
Gaudu limited his losses to 19 seconds on the line with Enric Mas and Romain Bardet finishing just behind him. Adam Yates lost 29 seconds on the day with his teammate Martinez shipping 45 precious seconds. Nairo Quintana had looked strong on the early slopes but he lost 51 seconds, while Neilson Powless, who started the day in second overall, lost over a minute. Vlasov came home 1:39 down, while O’Connor lost over six minutes.
In the overall standings Pogačar leads the race with a margin of 35 seconds over Vingegaard, and Thomas at 1:10. Yates remains in contention at 1:18, and Gaudu is up to fifth at 1:31, with Bardet just a further second back.
Powless, after his excellent week, falls to eighth at 1:37, with Mas at 1:43. Martinez is now at 1:45, but Vlasov was the major loser of the day and sits in 12th place at 2:41. His podium chances look bleak. Roglič who started the stage still suffering from his stage 5 crash moved up 15 places to 13th but is still close to three minutes back on Pogačar.