Pogacar talks Visma tactics, Vingegaard and his plan of attack: "In that stage, I expect the time gaps will be bigger" Cycling

Pogacar talks Visma tactics, Vingegaard and his plan of attack: "In that stage, I expect the time gaps will be bigger"

Pogacar talks Visma tactics, Vingegaard and his plan of attack: "In that stage, I expect the time gaps will be bigger"

1 minute and 15 second. That yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar's lead over his main rival Jonas Vingegaard, after nine days of the Tour de France. The Slovenian knocked on the Dane's door multiple times in the stages that suited him well, but so far Vingegaard has kept it tightly shut. On the rest day, Pogacar took stock during his press conference.

Remco Evenepoel has managed to wedge himself between the two two-time Tour de France winners with a 33-second deficit, but above all, he positions himself as a potential ally for the Slovenian. On Sunday, the top two in the standings, who happened to be staying at the same hotel on the rest day, wanted to make a move in the gravel stage, but Visma | Lease a Bike and Vingegaard did not want to join. What does this mean for the rest of the Tour?

remco evenepoel tadej pogacar

Tadej, what does your rest day look like?

"We're in a hotel with small rooms, but fortunately I don't spend much time there. I have this press conference and this morning we did a tour with a nice coffee stop in Orleans, courtesy of Nils Politt. Soon I'll have another massage and then the day will be over."

Last year Visma | Lease a Bike went into the final week with a lot of confidence and they seem to be going for that again now. How do you look at that?

"Last year they went into the final week with a lot of confidence, and I think they're trying the same thing now. That doesn't matter to me because I have a lot more confidence in myself this year. I'm enjoying how the race has gone so far. I have the yellow jersey and that feels good. I'm riding my own race and normally I have to have good legs until the end as well."

What was said between you, Remco and Jonas on the gravel sections?

"There was not much communication, just some gestures and some words. Everyone knows what to do and Sunday me and Remco wanted to ride to the finish, but if Jonas doesn't want to help? Then so be it, it was still a cool race to ride. I felt good and that made it a fine day in the end."

Pogacar has to answer many questions about Vingegaard

What is your impression of Jonas's form?

"Already on day two, in the stage to San Luca, we did the best time on that climb. Jonas was already able to hold my wheel there, so I have to say that I already knew on day two that his form is pretty good. You can also see it in the way he moves in the peloton, the way he takes descents... He's sharp."

Are you satisfied with the lead you have now?

"Yes, actually I am Last year it was the other way around, then I had to make up time. That was a pain in the ass, so I feel more comfortable being in the lead now. It's not a super big lead, but still. I still expect nice duels, even with Remco and Primoz there. Then it's better to have some time on those guys."

Had you expected there to be a bigger lead after nine days of racing?

"Honestly, I didn't know how good he was. When they announced he was going to the Tour, I did know he wouldn't start if he wasn't in shape. That was confirmed after two stages, so by then I assumed I wouldn't be able to get too much of a lead."

Jonas told me he thought you looked strong, stronger than him even. Is that true?

"I don't think so. He's trying to downplay, because otherwise he won't follow me on San Luca in the second stage. I don't care that much, I focus on enjoying my days on the bike and the yellow jersey."

Are you afraid of Jonas?

"No, I would even be more scared of Remco when he attacked. But I'm not afraid of anyone and I don't need to be. On Sunday, I saw that Visma | Lease a Bike was afraid of me. Jonas only looked at me, but that's the dynamic right now. We'll see how it goes."

Is it also a mental game?

"If they try to hit me mentally, they don't succeed. The way they race is completely against me, but I'm used to that from previous editions of the Tour de France. I'm used to it and I don't care, I do my own thing."

jorgenson vingegaard pogacar

(the press officer decides to skip other questions about Vingegaard due to there being so many)

You and Remco like to race offensively. Can you still try something together?

"I take my hat off to Remco. It’s our first grand tour together, and it’s fun to race with him. He’s a strong contender, but I really enjoy seeing him go full throttle when he can."

Should you race more calculatedly?

"I don’t know. On Galibier, I took forty seconds, so I think I'm not doing so bad at all."

What's the big difference between this year's Giro and the Tour?

"There is a lot of stress in the Tour. There’s always something going on, even outside the race. In the Giro, I could take quite a bit of time on day two, but now everyone is still close together after nine days. Physically it’s just as tough, but in the Tour, you’re a bit sharper. That’s why it’s the Tour."

What do you expect from Wednesday, a day with a lot of altitude meters?

"It’s a complicated stage. Very long, but with a long lead-in. I think a big group will break away and fight for the stage. First, there’s the stage on Tuesday, which we also have to survive."

And what do you think about the stages this coming weekend?

"I haven’t scouted them, but I know the climbs. We have Pavel Sivakov, who will be racing in his own region on Sunday, and Adam Yates knows Saturday’s stage well. Normally, I’m always good in the Pyrenees, so I think it will be fun again."

Where do you see the most chances to try something?

"I think the gaps in stage fifteen will be bigger than we’ve seen so far."

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