TDF 2024: Stage 11: Vingegaard Bests Pogacar at Le Lioran

TOUR DE FRANCE 2024 | STAGE 11 | ÉVAUX-LES-BAINS > LE LIORAN

Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) inched out Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) over the finish line on a mountain top at Le Lioran. It was a battle through the Massif Central, that alternated between the top four GC riders in the final climbs, Pogacar, Vingegaard, Evanepoel, and Roglic.

“This is of course a very emotional win for me,” said Vingegaard after the stage finish. “Coming back from a crash, it means a lot to me after all I went through in the last few months. Winning makes me think of that. I would have never been able to do this without my family. They supported me tremendously.” He seemed shaken and close to tears as he spoke to reporters.

Pogacar threw down the gauntlet with an attack on the Puy Mary-Pas de Peyrol, with the Vingegaard ultimately able to respond to and match the Slovenian, eventually just beating the man in the Yellow Jersey to the finish. Even Vingegaard seemed surprised, and the two shook hands after the finish.

“To be honest, I’m surprised. I never thought I could come back to this level. I knew I was going to be good, but not this good. Coming to the Tour de France,” admitted Vingegaard.

They were followed over the line 25” later by Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) in third place, while Primoz Roglic (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) recovered from a late crash to finish fourth, 55” behind the leading pair. The result means Pogacar remains in control in the GC, now 1’06” in front of Evenepoel, with Vingegaard third (+1’14”) and Roglic fourth (+2’45”).

A high pace from the start
Following the withdrawal before the stage due to illness of Tim Declercq (Lidl – Trek), there were 171 riders on the start line in Evaux-les-Bains, with the peloton ready for the 211 km route across the rugged Massif Central and 4,350 meters of vertical climbing ahead of them.

Anticipating that a strong breakaway could form and potentially win at the finish line, the first two hours of the stage produced a relentless series of attacks, creating a remarkable average speed of 47.1 km/h on the hilly stage. Ion Izagirre and Alexis Renard (Cofidis) were dropped from a combination of the high pace, and illness and injury respectively- and ended up abandoning as the peloton moved on.

Fierce fight for breakaway
Still, riders battled to form breakaways, and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) was first in the intermediate sprint at Bourg-Lastic (IS, km 65). It was not until km 76 that Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) and Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies) managed to outsmart the peloton.

By the time they reached the top of the Côte de Mouilloux (Cat. 4, km 79.8) Oscar Onley (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Paul Lapeira (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) and Oier Lazkano (Movistar Team) had joined them.

Lazkano topped the Mouilloux first and the peloton were still only 12” behind the leading six riders, with UAE Team Emirates, Visma-Lease to Bike and Ineos Grenadiers controlling things.

The main group slowed the pace somewhat on the Côte de Larodde (Cat. 3, km 89.7), where five men set out on a quest to join the riders at the head of the race: those five being Bruno Armirail (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale), Julien Bernard (Lidl-Trek), Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ), Guillaume Martin and Axel Zingle (Cofidis).

Carapaz was first on the Larodde summit, where the five pursuers would arrive 40” later and the peloton were 1’30” behind. Although Zingle sat up, the other four counterattackers managed to join up with the six in front, to make it a consolidated breakaway of ten at km 101 of the stage.

UAE controls the breakaway
A maximum gap of 2’30” between the leaders and the bunch was recorded at km 111, which was the moment chosen by the UAE Team Emirates to control the the breakaway. The threat became clear on the approach to the climb of the Col de Néronne, with the selection already becoming very severe within the peloton, which left the likes of Romain Bardet and Geraint Thomas behind. At the head of the race, Lazkano was responsible for reducing the competition around him and was only accompanied by Healy when he reached the summit of the Col de Néronne.

The race explodes
Starting the ascent to Puy Mary-Pas de Peyrol, a Lazkano-Carapaz-Healy trio came back together, but with hope fading and their lead reduced to 30”. Irish rider Healy was the last to hold out, but he was caught 1 km from the summit by a main group reduced to 10 riders. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) went on the offensive 600 meters from the summit, 32 kilometers from the finish line.

He created a gap of 5” on Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) at the top, which he expanded to 30” on the descent, but he was unable to defend the lead on the climb to the Col de Pertus. 100 meters from the top, the Yellow Jersey was joined by his Danish rival, whom he still beat to the summit to grab the 8” bonus point. The Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) and Primoz Roglic (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) duo were 45’’ behind by that point. On the final climb Pogacar and Vingegaard ascended together, with Vingegaard ultimately able to finish the job at the finish at Le Lioran.

 

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