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Tour de France 2022 – The heat wave, potential weakness of the Tadej Pogacar yellow jersey?

32° in Mende, 34° from Albertville and more than 38° in Carcassonne next Sunday… It should even be 21° at the top of the Col du Galibier on Wednesday, when it culminates at an altitude of 2642m! The second week of this 109th edition will be marked by the heat wave which will hit France and the Grande Boucle. If the Route d’Occitanie had seen its route changed at the last moment to ward off the heat wave following a ban from the prefect, the Tour is not likely to experience such an upheaval. It’s up to the runners to hold on. Because such temperatures can change a lot of things in organisms.

Pogacar, afraid of the heat? Yes but it was in 2021

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Heat remains a disturbing factor for performanceexplained Jacky Maillot, the Groupama-FDJ team doctor, to AFP during the 2019 Tour. When you sweat while running, you can lose about a liter of sweat per hour, and when you lose a liter, you can only rehydrate by half a litre. We only compensate for half of our losses. It must be taken into account“. During a heat wave, runners can then drink up to 1.5 liters of drink per hour and do not hesitate to cool off by any means possible, including by placing ice packs on their necks. “The hardest part is when you go up hills because you are not going fast“, said Barguil in June for RMC Sport.

Bad luck, as in 2019, the heat wave appeared just before the Alps, which will be made even more difficult by the conditions. Whether it’s the 11th stage between Albertville and the Col du Granon or the 12th stage between Briançon and Alpe d’Huez, the high temperatures could quickly transform these alpine stages into veritable stations of the cross for the less comfortable runners. in these conditions. But what about favorites? At the dawn of this very hot week, a question is on everyone’s lips: can the heat wave be Tadej Pogacar’s expected weak point? The Slovenian himself admitted to fearing it before the 2021 Tour.Before the start of the Tour, there was only one thing that really scared me, it was… the heathe admitted during the second day of rest in Andorra. I’m not always very comfortable with her“. This was also seen during the 11th stage.

I know what to expect, the heat doesn’t scare me

July 7, 2021. A date marked with a white stone for all those who want to see the Slovenian ogre fall. The only time “Pogi” had given way in the mountains on the Tour de France 2021. That day, Mont Ventoux, its gravel and its thirty degrees. A furnace to climb twice which had notably caused the big failure of David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), pushed back to a quarter of an hour. And, during the second ascent, in the last hectometres, Pogacar could not follow Vingegaard’s final acceleration. For the first time, he seemed stuck. The finish being located in Malaucène, he will not lose anything in the end but it was enough to see Pogacar’s weak point in the heat. Only, here it is: that was before.

First (small) admission of weakness: Pogacar got stuck in Ventoux against Vingegaard

The hot and heavy week that we have just been through has finally reassured me, he already assured during this second day of rest in Andorra last year. Above all, this “incident” pushed the Slovenian to work on this sector. On the road, old fashioned. “I’ve never trained in special rooms to work the heat, I’m someone who feels we have to do it outdoors, on the roadhe explained this Monday during the second day of rest of the Tour 2022. When I trained in Slovenia in June, it was very hot. And even before that”. And all fear of the heat disappeared. “I know what to expect, the heat does not scare me“, he assures. In any case, no more than the others.

If Jonas says he’s better (than me), maybe it’s true

It’s the same for everyone, you’ll have to keep your body as cool as possibleexplains Pogacar. Nobody likes to run 5 hours in such temperatures“. But some are still more comfortable there than others. This is in any case the opinion of Jonas Vingegaard, who would have declared before the departure from Copenhagen that he considered himself “better than Pogacar in hot weather“. “I don’t know if that’s the case, I’m not that bad when it’s hotbelieves the Slovenian. If Jonas says he’s better in these conditions, maybe that’s true. We’ll see what happens this week.“. The game is on. And the weather referee stands by.

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