Stage 18. The last mountain stage. A summit finish on Hautacam. Most likely, the last chance for Tadej Pogacar to take enough time from his rival Jonas Vingegaarde to make Stage 20’s time trial a possible replay of 2020. There was just about everything in this stage – from super domestiques cracking early to domestiques that cracked yesterday surging back into play. Attacks on a descent that bit the attacker on the ass. The attackee waiting for him so they could fight it out on the final climb together. In the end, Vingegaarde took the stage and pretty much clinched this year’s Tour. He also picked up the KOM jersey on the way.
Here’s a new tourism slogan: You want drama, go to the Pyrenees. For drama it was on Stage 17 of the Tour de France with a short short short stage (130km) that had some steep steep steep climbs. With only two UAE teammates able to ride for him, Tadej Pogacar decided to deploy them as if he had a whole train of domestiques. And Mikkel Bjerg and Brandon McNulty rode like ten men, putting everyone in difficulty for what seemed to be hours until it was just McNulty, Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard on the way to the summit finish. Pogacar and Vingegaard sprinted for the line, with Pog taking his third stage win of this Tour. Vingegaard, however, was on his wheel and gave him no gap at all – the top three GC places saw no change and none of the jerseys changed hands.
Let his palmares show that Hugo Houle‘s first professional victory came on Stage 16, Tour de France 2022. In a day for the tactical deployment of teammates, the Israel-PremierTech Canadian flew solo from the break of the day with 40km to go, dug deep on Mur de Peguere and kept his cool on the testing descent to come across the line with a salute to the brother he lost to a hit-and-run incident ten years ago. Behind him, Valentin Maduous (Groupama- FDJ) pipped Houle’s teammate and fellow Canadian, Michael Woods. Behind THEM the GC podium remains unchanged due to Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) repelling all of Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) attacks. Underneath the podium, it’s all shaken and stirred with Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) moving up to fourth and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) dropping from fourth to ninth. Continue reading