Emotional Vingegaard beats Pogacar in sprint to win Tour de France stage 11 in Massif Central

Emotional Vingegaard beats Pogacar in sprint to win Tour de France stage 11 in Massif Central


Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark celebrates crossing the finish line ahead of Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia. He was wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey. He won the 211 km eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race. The race will start on 10 July 2024 in Evaux-les-Bains and end in Le Loreton, France.

Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia. He was wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey. He won the 211-km eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race. The race will start on 10 July 2024 at Evaux-les-Bains and end in Le Lore, France. | Photo credit: AP

Just three months ago, Jonas Vingegaard lay in a hospital bed with broken ribs and damaged lungs. On Wednesday, he beat his rival Tadej Pogacar in a two-man sprint after a tough day in the mountains.

Tour leader Pogacar kept the yellow jersey, but the two-time defending champion secured a psychological victory at the end of an epic battle in the Massif Central.

The pair outpaced all their rivals and, after reducing the gap to Pogacar significantly on a tough climb, Vingegaard overtook his rival to take the stage win by half a wheel.

“It's definitely very emotional for me. Coming back from the accident,” Wingegaard said, trying to hold back tears. “It means a lot. It makes you think about everything I've been through the last three months.”

Vingegaard was hospitalised for nearly two weeks after a high-speed crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

He resumed competitive racing at the Tour and there were many question marks over his form. His impressive performance on Wednesday showed he is fully prepared to defend his title.

“I'm very happy to be here and winning a stage means a lot to me, especially winning for my family. They were supporting me the whole time,” Vingegaard said.

True to his habit of attacking every time he gets the chance, Pogacar tried to go solo with a strong attack some 32 kilometres from the finish. After the fall, Vingegaard kept his head cool and proved to be the fastest on the next climb to catch his rival.

Vingegaard said he thought he wouldn’t be able to close the gap that Pogacar had created, and was even surprised he was able to beat him in the sprint.

“Three months ago I would have never thought of that. I was just thinking about running at my own pace and then sprinting.”

The pair then stayed together to save time from Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglich, who crashed near the finish. Evenepoel finished 25 seconds behind, while Roglich was 55 seconds behind.

Evenepoel is 1:06 behind Pogacar, while Vingegaard is third, 1:14 behind him. Roglich is fourth, 2:45 behind the race leader.

The rollercoaster 211-kilometre (131-mile) stage 11 included four tough downs in the second half and included over 4,000 metres of climbing.

The race started at a fast pace and the peloton stayed together for about 40 kilometers before riders began to separate in the humid conditions. A group of 10 men was leading but split up at the foot of the first big climb, the steep Col de Neron.

Pogacar's Team Emirates set a fast pace but were dropped one by one as they reached the Puy Marie, the toughest climb of the day.

Pogacar, the two-time Tour champion, attacked 600 metres from that summit and left everyone behind, then went full throttle on the downhill, displaying his superb skill in technical descents to extend his lead and start the next climb with a 35-second lead. But Vingegaard still had the last word.

“He's in top form,” Pogacar said of his rival. “He beat me really good on the line, and I sprinted really well after a stage like that. He was really strong.”

Stage 12 from Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot on Thursday is mainly flat. The battle between Pogacar and Vingegaard is expected to resume this weekend when the peloton reaches the big mountains in the Pyrenees.


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