″Vingegaard was amazing, now we see that Pogacar is not invincible″

Reactions from Romain Bardet, Geraint Thomas and Roglic after stage 11 of the Tour.

The “reborn” Romain Bardet, second in the general standings, was satisfied with his performance at the Col du Granon, but anticipated “a great fight” at Alpe d”Huez, on Thursday, in the 12th stage of the Volta to France by bicycle.

“It was a truly difficult journey, as predicted, the first big journey to the general classification. […]. Then it was a matter of legs”, acknowledged the Frenchman from DSM, referring to the first of the three hard mountain counts passed by the peloton today, in the 151.7 kilometers of the 11th stage, disputed between Albertville and the Col du Granon. .

Bardet was third at the goal, 1.10 minutes from the winner, the Danish Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma, new yellow jersey, who left the second in the run, the Colombian Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) at 59 seconds.

Vice-champion of the Tour in 2016 and third the following year, Bardet had ruled out, at the start of the 109th edition, a candidacy for the race’s podium, but he is, at the moment, in a good position to repeat the feats of the past, by being runner-up, 2.16 minutes from Vingegaard.

“I’m happy with this journey. Now I have to focus on tomorrow’s stage [quinta-feira]because there will be another big fight”, predicted the 31-year-old Frenchman, who, in 2019, was the king of the Grande Boucle mountain and is one of the greats of French cycling.

Bardet meddled in the fight between the new yellow jersey and the “dethroned” Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), third at 2.22 minutes, and also denied a place on the podium to Geraint Thomas, the 2018 champion, who is fourth overall, at 2.26 from Vingegaard.

“Jonas Vingegaard was incredible, now we see that Pogacar is not invincible”, declared the experienced INEOS cyclist, before anticipating “movements and changes” on Thursday’s stage, which ends in Alpe d’Huez, back on course of the Tour after four years of absence.

“I think that tomorrow (Thursday) Pogacar will react. I don’t know if it will win the stage, but it will try”, he said, predicting that Jumbo-Visma will control from the initial kilometers, so, therefore, they will not be so “nervous”.

For “G”, “Jonas has an advantage of more than two minutes, he is very strong and he has a team of great quality around him”.

“Tomorrow is another day, I hope to recover well and have a say”, added the Welshman, after having overcome “a truly difficult day”, which eliminated podium candidates such as Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) or Enric Mas (Movistar).

Despite having sunk, the Tour’20 runner-up was happy. “It gives me the same, because I gave everything,” said Roglic, responsible for the first attack in the group of favourites, still in the Télégraphe.

The Slovenian lost more than 11 minutes to his teammate and is out of the fight for the “top 3”, being 14th overall, almost 14 minutes from yellow, but he made a positive assessment of his journey in the Alps.

“I heard on the radio what Jonas had done. It’s a very good day for us. We gave it our all. It was tough, but in the end the strongest won”, he said, admitting that the Jumbo-Visma men didn’t know if they would succeed. when they took turns attacking Pogacar.

Unlike Roglic, Enric Mas has no reason to smile, after the debacle in the 11th stage, in which he lost more than eight minutes to Vingegaard. “I had a very bad day. I felt “empty” since the beginning of Galibier. Now, when we arrive at the hotel, we will calmly talk about what we can do. We have to reflect and see how we face tomorrow’s stage [quinta-feira]”, said Portuguese leader Nelson Oliveira.

Tenth overall, the Spaniard, who was fifth on the Tour in 2020 and sixth the following year, hopes “this has been a day to learn and improve”. “A lot of people had a bad day, others had a good one. I was one of those who had a bad day. Tomorrow will be another day,” he concluded.

On Thursday, the peloton faces the second round in the Alps, a connection of 165.1 kilometers, which starts in Briançon, goes up the Galibier again, on another slope, then the Col de la Croix-de-Fer and ends in the Alpe. d’Huez.