The Slovenian left his compatriot empty-handed after a huge task in the time trial. Victory is in your hands. It only remains to get to Paris.
Not only football thrives on surprising results and end of anthology. Cycling also has its own thing in these areas. In case there was any doubt about it, just look at the outcome of the 107th edition of the Tour de France: after days of dominance by Primoz Roglic, the Slovenian gave up the lead just one day before the competition closed.
And the one who took the leadership from him was his compatriot Tadej Pogacar, who achieved a historic comeback in the time trial this Saturday, on the eve of the peloton’s arrival in Paris, and thus was only a small step away from winning the victory in the most important cycling event on the planet.
The representative of the UAE Emirates team, who until Friday was second overall, 57 seconds behind Roglic, prevailed with striking comfort on the 36.2-kilometer timed stage between Lure and La Planche des Belles Filles.
The rider, who will be just 22 years old on Monday, set the clock in 55 minutes and 55 seconds and beat the Dutch Tom Dumoulin (from the Jumbo-Visma team) and the Australian Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) by one minute and 21 seconds.
But the most important thing was that he took a minute and 56 seconds from Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and in this way not only snatched the top of the general classification, but also took a rent of 57 seconds that seems very difficult to discount in the last stage, which will begin on Sunday in Mantes-la-Jolie, a suburb of Paris, and will end on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in the center of the French capital.
“I came to participate and I am one step away from winning. I am living a dream, I do not know what to say. It is something incredible because I did not imagine what I am about to achieve”, admitted the new leader of the competition, who is participating for the first time once on a Tour de France.
“Today I knew that in each curve, in each point I had to accelerate. I heard my team on the radio only in the first section. Afterwards I did not hear anything else because of the noise of the crowd,” added the excited winner.
If an extraordinary situation like this Saturday does not occur, Pogacar will keep the yellow jersey for the winner of the race and will also receive the red polka dot jersey as the winner of the mountain classification and the white jersey for the best junior.
Behind Pogacar and Roglic (who had been the leader the last 11 days of the competition), Richie Porte ranks third in the overall standings. Further behind are the Spaniards Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) and Enric Mas (Movistar Team), and the Colombian Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team), who had a Saturday to forget and fell from third to sixth place.