Stage 18 of the Tour de France saw a second dominant victory for Tadej Pogačar in the clouds of the Pyrenees, on the summit finish of Luz Ardiden – where Sir Brad and Graham Willgoss are marooned in a traffic jam for their latest look back at the day’s racing.
Did a short and sharp stage – just short of 130km with two HC climbs – play into the champion elect’s hands?
“He didn’t really have to blow his rivals away, he just did the last bit,” says Brad on Pogačar’s supremacy. “They could have done with another climb in there really, instead of having 60-70km on the flat beforehand.
“Stages like that, with climbs like that, almost need another two climbs in there to make it a proper Pyrenean stage. It lends itself to everyone being fresh at the end.”
Questions, too, for Ineos, still empty-handed at this Tour. We saw the familiar Ineos (/Sky) mountain train of old going full gas on the final climb, but that just meant Pogacar willingly climbed aboard.
“Is it worth doing that knowing they were going to get beat in the end? There was no way they were going to crack him.”
Brad says it would have been a very different Tour had G and Roglic not crashed. But as things stand, Pogačar not only holds the Maillot Jaune but also the Young Rider’s and Polka Dot Jerseys. But not the Points Jersey.
Full of praise for Mark Cavendish’s Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for guiding the Green Jersey through the mountains, Brad says his old friend is in the perfect position to make history with two more flat stages to come.
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