Tadej Pogačar overlaps in yellow and folklore
Tadej Pogacar, say hello. As they would say on Twitter, this is a world of Tadej Pogacar and we live in it.
A few months ago, legendary coach Cyrille Guimard said the 22-year-old was already above the level of Eddy Merckx, the man widely regarded as the greatest male cyclist of all time.
That was a pretty bold claim about a rider who is only in his third professional season, but when the reigning Tour de France champion rides like he did today, it’s tough to discuss with Guimard.
Pogacar is in a league of its own.
He was on the good side of fortune in the first seven stages, avoiding many accidents, and when he was able to show his talent, he reveled in the opportunity.
He dominated the fifth stage time trial and today he was unstoppable. After attacking from the peloton on the penultimate climb he was joined by Richard Carapaz, but in less than a minute he was solo, driving his own race and turning yellow and quite possibly a second victory consecutive on the Tour, if things continue like this.
He finished the stage in fourth place, despite being seven minutes behind the race leaders 35 km from the finish.
He now leads the race by 1-48 over Wout van Aert, and is a huge, a mammoth, a huge 4-46 ahead of his closest overall challenger Rigoberto Urán after just eight stages.
What we witnessed today was legendary. It was one of the greatest rides in the history of cycling.
And remember, his UAE Team Emirates was spent yesterday, with rival teams believing that if they isolate Pogacar, they can reach him.
It is wishful thinking. The race for yellow can become a matter of procession, but let’s just take advantage of this generational talent.
The eighth stage of the Tour de France 2021 will go down in history as the moment when the cycling world had its confirmation: there is no one better than the young Slovenian. Not now, and maybe never, as Guimard predicts.
Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Urán are the best of the others
We already knew that, but the eighth stage confirmed the claim that Richard Carapaz is the leader of Ineos Grenadiers, and he is probably the second best in the race.
The Ecuadorian attacked bravely yesterday, and he was in the mood to attack again today, supported by teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart.
In the end, he failed to keep up with Pogacar, but he put a lot of time into the rest aside from Colombian Rigoberto Urán who actually has a 15-second buffer on Carapaz.
Urán rides this Tour as he always has: nothing explosive, but he rides at his own pace and cannot be easily dislodged. He finished second in the 2017 race and is a good bet for a repeat.
As for Carapaz, the winner of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, he will likely be put off by Pogacar’s form, but he must take heart knowing he will be on the outskirts of a second Grand Tour victory, if only Pogacar does not. not compete, of course.
A special mention must also go to Wout van Aert. Although he insisted he would not contest in the battle for the overall standings, the Belgian showed today that you should not believe what he is saying, finishing 1-36 behind the group of Carapaz and Urán, a remarkable feat considering the route.
He was mentioned last year after his mountain job that he could be a future GC rider, and his performance today – he’s now 1-48 from Pogacar – was further evidence of a potential path in the years to come for the old world of cyclocross. champion.
And while we’re screaming, Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma colleague Jonas Vingegaard is fifth, five minutes behind Pogacar and one second ahead of Carapaz.
The 24-year-old Dane has made his appearance this year and he could be Primož Roglič’s replacement.
Dylan Teuns wins a formidable and frenetic stage
Of the 12 victories in Dylan Teuns’ career, none has been as close as this one.
Today’s breakaway had about five races crammed into one, with the breakaway only allowed to form after two hours of hectic, pressurized racing that took place at high speed and on wet roads. and slippery.
When Teuns Bahrain Victorious teammate Wout Poels finally accepted his fate and realized that it was best to join the 18-rider pursuit group, the game began as to who would win the honors of the ‘step.
Riding, ascending and descending three Category 1 climbs and Teuns emerged as the strongest, smartest, and the one who handled the horrible conditions best, timing his attack perfectly and maintaining a pace in the final descent that increased his lead. .
The 29-year-old is a respected figure in a squad who knows that when he’s having a good day he can win any stage.
The eighth stage, as already described, will go down in the chronicles of this race and this sport, and Teuns’ name will rightly be there, as he won an epic stage on a memorable and historic day of the race of the Grand Tour.
His success is also a new triumph for his team which is having a magnificent season.
Mathieu van der Poel loses the yellow
Mathieu van der Poel’s six days in the yellow jersey were quite good, the Dutchman honoring the head with class and panache.
On the race’s first excursion into the Alps, however, the mountains were too much for the man from Alpecin-Fenix who was left behind on the penultimate climb of the stage and eventually finished.
Van der Poel was expected to hand the race over today, but he didn’t do it so easily, mindful in the race’s frantic three hours until the big mountains are revealed too.
Van der Poel is aiming for Olympic mountain biking gold and is now considering retiring from the Tour on the next rest day, and if he does, he will leave a very impressive debut behind him.
Like his grandfather Raymond Poulidor, Van der Poel will write several chapters in the annals of this race. Its history with the Tour has only just begun.
End of the distant hopes of Roglič and Thomas
Two of the big pre-race favorites are officially no longer in contention to win the race, Geraint Thomas and Primoż Roglič suffering from the moment the flag fell.
The duo escaped from the back of the peloton in the opening kilometers and finished the race in the group, the large peloton at the rear normally reserved for sprinters, not general classification riders.
Roglič’s performance today was expected given his struggles on stage seven, but there was still some hope that Thomas would come back to the race. After all, it was only two minutes from Tadej Pogačar before the stage.
It is clear, however, that the injuries suffered by the couple in different accidents in the third stage hamper them considerably.
How the duo approach the next few weeks will be interesting. Will they refocus and aim for stage success, or will they just call it a day and go home to recuperate.
It seems more likely that Roglič would favor this approach, with an eye on his title defense at Vuelta a España.
Thomas, meanwhile, could be thinking about his condition for the next Olympics, with the road race taking place in just three weeks. There could be pressure, however, to stay in France and help Richard Carapaz push for yellow.