Tour de France 2022 : Stage 6 – Pogacar storms Longwy for stage and yellow jersey

A fascinating stage 6 of the Tour de France ultimately ended with a show of dominance from Tadej Pogacar on the uphill finish at Longwy. His blistering jump put him bike lengths away from second-on-the-day Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) in a couple of pedal strokes and straight into the yellow jersey. As undoubtedly impressive as this display was, the other story of the day belonged to Wout van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma tyro was in no mood to give up and only ceded his maillot jaune after a day-long fight in the break and, when his breakaway partners could no longer keep pace, by flying solo until his capture with 11km to go.

Facing a day out of 220km -the longest stage at this year’s Tour – and with La Super Planches des Belles Filles to scale tomorrow. You would think the riders would have been happy to let a break go and just play for a breakaway win with a little GC manoeuvring on the side. To be fair, I think that’s what a lot of teams might have done if wasn’t for the searingly fast start, the cross headwinds, and the fact Wout was determined to be in the break.

Riders were shelled out of the back as fast as others were trying to escape off the front. The average speed for the first hour hit 53km/h and didn’t slow much for the second!

or indeed for the whole stage

It was pure chaos with the peloton in full flow and flux

At one point we had a Danish flavoured break, because is it really a breakaway at the Tour if the polka dots of Magnus Cort  (EF Education-EasyPost) are missing?

When Wout, wouts

Wout was determined to be in the break today, he attacked relentlessly and would not be deterred.

Eventually, after 77km of frantic racing, and with 143km to go, teammate Steven Kruijswijk led him out just fast enough to snap the elastic and he was away with Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) and Israel Premier Tech’s Jakob Fuglsang.

The trio nursed their advantage well. However, with the EF Pinkies chasing hard to get Neilson Powless into the yellow jersey and BORA-hansgrohe wanting to move Aleksandr Vlasov up the GC, they were slowly but surely reeled in. The odds swung more into the chasers favour when Fuglsang dropped out of the break with 65km to go. Not that Wout appeared perturbed. Not even a badly behaved bike chain a change of bike put him off mission. He would not be stopped. When Simmons could no longer pull with him he simply rode away solo in yellow-clad show of defiance.

I said on Tuesday that I had run out of superlatives for Wout, and although today was not a storming ride to victory, it was equally as enthralling. He gave every last watt of power to stay out front, eeked his advantage over the first of the four climbs in the final 15kms, determined to somehow hold onto yellow. When he was finally caught with 11km to go he sailed back through the peloton like he’d thrown out an anchor.

You can only applaud that stubbornness and sheer will to honour the yellow jersey.

… even if you question what the Jumbo Bees were up to

Don’t worry though, we’ll still see him in the maillot vert tomorrow – his stated goal for the Tour. He’ll also be wearing the red numbers for most combative ride of today’s stage.

When Pog, pogs

If I can create a verb for Wout, I sure as hell can create one for Pogacar! With Wout ceding yellow, the climb heavy final got spicier still. Total Energies’ Alexis Vuillermoz took a flyer on the penultimate ascent, the Côte de Pulventeux. Pog responded with one of his own that split the already small peloton into small pieces still.

Pog’s UAE team set about hunting down the man out front and they had him at the base of the final ascent at Longwy.

Jumbo Bees Primoz Roglic attacked first, and then the inevitable happened…

… Pog, pogged.

Watch the final kilometer and be spellbound. The sheer acceleration he gets to reel in Primoz and hold the likes of Bling Matthews at bay.

His post race interview was joyous and cheeky – and look out for that tuft. Just the one today, but what a tuft of power it was.

Is it all over bar the singing?

We have seen this scenario before. Pog gets into the lead and that’s it, the yellow jersey is wrapped up tight and out of sight.

Well, let’s leave all the teeth gnashing and wailing until at least tomorrow, and better still the high mountains.

Even if Tadej holds onto yellow, you know full well it’ll be exciting. He won’t be happy to sit and defend, he’ll be out there riding with FULL TUFTED POG-NESS

Besides which, Le Tour will never be boring when we have stage victories and polka dots to play for. Plus WOUT in his quest for green

And if that doesn’t cheer you up, look at INEOS massing their four pronged attack at the front!

Midge pic of the day

The last words

This is everyone who watched the stage.

This made me snort with laughter.

Final results

Stage 5 results

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 4:27:13

2 Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) same time

3 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) s.t

4 Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) s.t

5 Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) s.t

GC top 10 

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 20:44:44

2 Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) +0:04

3 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma) +0:31

4 TAdam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers ) +0:39

5 Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:40

6 Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:46

7 Aleksander Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:52

8 Daniel Martinez (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:00

9 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +1:01

10 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +1:02

All the jerseys

Embed from Getty Images

Leader’s jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)

King of the Mountains: Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post)

Best young rider: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Team : INEOS Grenadiers 

For full stage reviews, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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