“You, mine!” “, Ignited Édouard Carpentier when Dino Bravo and King Tonga exchanged the “atemis” to who better better in the ring of the Stars of the fight, show which delighted teenagers on Sunday mornings in the early 1980s.
Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard offered their own version of this Quebec classic during the two Pyrenean stages of the Tour de France.
After the blow of the clothesline of Vingegaard, Wednesday in Marie-Blanque, Pogačar replied with a catch of the small surprise package, Thursday, less than three kilometers from the first arrival at the top at the Cauterets-Cambasque station.
Where the great Miguel Induraín had won for the first time, but in a completely different style, in 1989, Pogačar (UAE) unseated Vingegaard (Jumbo) with an aerial leap. As if it had been ignited by the barefoot tramp in the polka-dot jersey who was “gambolling” beside them, red smoke in hand.
While the Dane tilted his head helplessly, the Slovenian, like a dancer, crushed the pedals at 30 km / h in the steepest sector of the climb, at 11%.
Grimacing, Vingegaard saved the furniture in the last hectometres, less hard, but he nevertheless conceded 28 seconds to his direct rival, bonuses at the finish included. Believe me, it hurts.
Even if the reigning champion regained the yellow jersey, ceded after a day by Jai Hindley (6th), now 3rd overall, it is clear that Pogačar (2nd) regained the upper hand at the end of this sixth stage, despite for being 25 seconds behind in first place.
Sweet revenge? asked Sébastien Piquet, the voice of Radio Tour.
“I wouldn’t say it was revenge, but it’s nice to win and get some time back,” replied Pogačar, unsurprisingly, who hasn’t seemed to have such sentiment since the the beginning of his career. “I’m a bit relieved and feel much better now. »
It was however badly blocked for the double winner of the Tour, whose teammates were suffocated like all the others when the Jumbo took over from the Bora of Hindley in the mythical Tourmalet, the previous pass.
What followed was clear: the men in yellow and black were about to make a mess like the day before. Juan Manuel Gárate, sports director of Ineos, also reminded his riders of this in a message broadcast live.
The presence at the front of Wout van Aert, who started at kilometer 0 with Julian Alaphilippe, only supported this hypothesis, which quickly ceased to be one.
Hindley hung on until the village of La Mongie, 4 km from the summit, before adopting a more sustainable pace. Radiant in his pre-race interview, the Australian from Bora fought well in his yellow suit to avoid collapse, nevertheless spending 2 min 39 s at the finish.
Impatient and probably given confidence by his number the day before, Vingegaard flew away before the end of the Tourmalet, with 50 km to go. Only Pogačar followed, an image that was reminiscent of the Granon stage last summer, Primož Roglič less.
On guard down the Tourmalet, the stalwart van Aert was back in action when his leader joined him, undertaking a second shift that lasted 20 kilometers and was completed two-thirds of the way up the final climb at Cauterets. Two spectators then offered him a little push, until he stopped zigzagging.
Elected combatant of the day for a second time in a row, the Belgian extinguished the semblance of controversy triggered by his stroke after his second place in San Sebastián on Sunday.
Happy to reconnect with yellow, Vingegaard hailed Pogačar’s success, admitting he was aiming for the stage and another straight to the body at Pogačar.
“We wanted to test him again and see how he felt,” the former fishmonger explained, “and I guess he felt better than yesterday. »
After crossing the line, Pogačar bowed to the photographers. The white jersey dedicated its 10th stage success to its blonde Urška Žigart, victim of a concussion after a fall in the Women’s Tour of Italy the day before.
Pogačar, who first sported orthopedic tape on his fractured left wrist in the spring, is back in the wrestling game.
The only question for the future: the apparent weakness of his team against the well-oiled machine of Jumbo-Visma. It almost looked like a fight-handicap.
Next battle royale for the two tenors: Sunday and the arrival at the top of the mythical Puy-de-Dôme. God willing.