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Tour de France: Vingegaard, Pogacar, Thomas, Bardet, Yates, Quintana, Gaudu… The fight will be terrible in the Pyrenees

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma)

  • Ranking: 1st
  • Advance on 4th: 3’01”

What must send him to the podium

Tour de France

Antoine Blondin, chronicle of a giant of the Tour


His level, quite simply. The Dane forms, with Tadej Pogacar, a duo that evolves a notch above the competition on this Grande Boucle. If that does not translate into time for the Slovenian, Vingegaard has never been overtaken by another favorite than the double title holder. Proof of a versatility that we did not necessarily suspect. But it was his climbing skills (and his team) that sent the Hillerslev man so high.

His Granon stage is a model of its kind and we would not be far from agreeing with Pogacar when he wondered if he was not the best climber in the world. In the Pyrenees, he should still dig on Thomas, Bardet and the others. And on the clock, the punishment should be the same.

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What can deprive him of it

A fall, the Covid or a huge failure. To tell the truth, if misfortune should happen to Jonas Vingegaard, we would rather bet on the first two solutions. At the pedals, he is far too above the competition for the podium. Imagining him being overthrown by Pogacar is one thing, imagining him being unbolted by the Slovenian and two other runners is another.

Vingegaard on the ground: no breakage but a scare for the yellow jersey

Probability of podium in Paris: 95%

Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Emirates)

  • Ranking: 2nd
  • Advance on 4th: 39”

What must send him to the podium

On this Tour, there is Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar and the others. Even if, for the time being, the Slovenian is lagging behind his Danish rival and is only leading the pack of pursuers, he seems quite clearly superior to a Thomas, a Bardet and so on. The boxwood shot of Granon should not make us forget that he remains an exceptional climber and even if he does not fly like last year, his offensives make everyone crack up apart from Vingegaard.

Another acceleration, still no gap: Vingegaard clung to Pogacar

Moreover, he will not only find favorable ground during the three Pyrenean stages, but also during the (relatively) long stage of Rocamadour, bumpy as desired. It will be very difficult for him to achieve the hat-trick, the fault of his failure at the Col du Granon. But his margin on those who follow him in the standings seems too important for him to slip off the podium in this last week.

What can deprive him of it

A second big slump in the mountains, similar to that of last Wednesday in the Alps. After all, if it happened once, why not a second? The young Slovenian gave a lot from the first week and it could cost him a hint of energy in the final stretch of this Tour. But a warned Pogacar is worth two. “I know what happened at the Granon and it won’t happen again,” he said.

Probability of podium in Paris: 90%

Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers)

  • Ranking: 3rd
  • Advance on 4th: 18”

What must send him to the podium

Geraint Thomas is undeniably the third man in this Tour de France. His climb to Alpe d’Huez where he finished with Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard was the most perfect illustration of this. So far, the 2018 winner is the most consistent of the others, which therefore logically allows him to be ahead of Bardet, his teammate Yates, Quintana or Gaudu. All of them are supposed to be able to take time back from him, but not enough to overtake him. And with Rocamadour’s time, his strategy has a good chance of working.

What can deprive him of it

Whether the race gets completely crazy and he loses control a bit or INEOS get it wrong with a wobbly team strategy. There are many scenarios where Thomas finds himself trapped and lonely in a wild mountain stage. Also watch out for the third week since it has now been three years since “G” last battled overall at this level at the end of a grand tour.

Probability of podium in Paris: 60%

Vingegaard lonely facing the “poison” Pogacar? “INEOS has the key to the Tour”

Romain Bardet (Team DSM)

  • Ranking: 4th
  • Delay on the podium: 18”

What must send him to the podium

His state of mind. We will come back to this in the second section, but Romain Bardet has no choice but to take risks if he wants to finish on the podium. That’s good, he really wants to, repeating to anyone who will listen that his only objective is to win the stage. Will it be compatible with the hunt for third place?

Everything will depend on the circumstances of the race, his form and those of his opponents. A hell of a puzzle with many unknowns. Still, the Bardet 2021 vintage is very well born and if the fight is launched from afar in the Pyrenees, it will find what it likes the most.

What can deprive him of it

The time trial of course. The equation is simple for Bardet (but to solve it very complicated), it will take him at least a minute and thirty seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas, if the latter is his ultimate opponent. He must therefore take two minutes from a Briton whom he has only beaten once, for 28 seconds at the Granon.

Distanced in Alpe d’Huez, Bardet loses his dolphin status

Probability of podium in Paris: 30%

Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers)

  • Ranking: 5th
  • Delay on the podium: 1’23”

What must send him to the podium

A team strategy? INEOS have three runners in the Top 9 with Thomas, Yates and Pidcock. If the latter cannot really believe in the podium, Simon’s brother is not so far from it. If Yates goes in a hit, Vingegaard and Pogacar probably won’t be suspicious and Thomas obviously won’t roll over him. As for imagining Bardet’s DSMs putting themselves at the head of the pack, there is a step that we will not take. Rather subject to the events so far, Adam Yates would have the good idea to provoke them in the Pyrenees.

What can deprive him of it

His overall level on the Tour de France. If the Briton is in the race for the podium, he has never beaten one of his direct opponents to the pedal on a finish at the top. No more at La Planche, than at Granon (only Pogacar was behind him) and at Alpe d’Huez. The former Mitchelton house has an interest in finding sacred legs if he wants to reverse the fight. And certainly Yates is not a penguin in the clock but Thomas is superior to him.

Probability of podium in Paris: 15%

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic)

  • Ranking: 6th
  • Delay on the podium: 1’32”

What must send him to the podium

At 32, the Colombian is no longer the same runner as in his time at Movistar. The podium may be a personal goal but not that of his team. However, Quintana is never as strong as in the absence of pressure. No one was betting on him for the podium at the start of the race and that’s still the case.

Whatever he does, he should return to the Top 10 on the Tour (barring a huge failure) and has nothing to lose. The three mountain stages give him three opportunities to move up in the standings, a program that is tough enough and provides him with a chance to recover his 92 seconds on Thomas, 3rd overall.

Nairo Quintana and Enric Mas on the Tour de France 2022

Credit: Getty Images

What can deprive him of it

The strength of his opponents and the profile of the last week. With the exception of Granon day, the Colombian has always seemed weaker than the others. Not reassuring before approaching the Pyrenees which have historically smiled less on Quintana than the Alps when he was on the Tour podium.

He won’t find any ascent to more than 2,000 m in altitude, where he excels the most, and he will have to take risks, like at the Granon, to hope to overthrow the general. But he will not be able to count on his team, with the abandonment of Barguil and will absolutely have to get on the podium before the 40 km time trial the day before the finish to hope to be there in Paris, given his (weak ) qualities in the exercise.

Probability of podium in Paris: 10%

Louis Meintjes (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Materials)

  • Ranking: 7th
  • Delay on the podium: 1’41”

What must send him to the podium

A Pereiro miracle. If the South African is in the Top 10 overall, it is only thanks to his breakaways. Pointed more than 18 minutes from Vingegaard on the evening of Granon, he recovered 14 thanks to his escapes to Alpe d’Huez and Mende. Given his form since the start, he will need a third to hope to grab the podium, even if he finds his legs from Dauphiné (6th).

What can deprive him of it

His inability to struggle with the pedal. On paper, it now seems impossible to let it slip away. To hang on the podium, he will have to move up places on a regular basis, which he has not done for five years (8th in the 2017 Tour), if indeed he has already done so. Almost unable to change pace to attack, he never appeared able to outrun his direct opponents. And unfortunately for him, his abilities in time are undoubtedly the “worst” of the candidates for the podium, which is saying something, even if he had surprised in Copenhagen (24th).

Probability of podium in Paris: 1%

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)

  • Ranking: 8th
  • Delay on the podium: 1’41”

What must send him to the podium

This famous click that he evoked after the stage of Mende! David Gaudu had let loose in an astonishing exercise in sincerity after Alpe d’Huez, regretting his lack of self-confidence. A lock that would “jumped up” in the climb to the Mende aerodrome and which allowed him to hurt Quintana, Yates, Bardet and even Thomas even if some came back in the final flat.

Gaudu hopes”to be on fire” in the Pyrenees and he is aiming for the podium, as announced by Marc Madiot in January. This still seems a bit far away but Gaudu was not really expected at this level after two weeks.

“I hope the lock has jumped”: David Gaudu optimistic for the future

What can deprive him of it

This lack of maturity that his statements suggest. Sometimes angry with himself, sometimes very satisfied, Gaudu seems to be asking a lot of questions. Nothing says that he will have all the answers in the Pyrenees. If this Tour de France 2022 can serve him enormously for the future, it can also be a huge frustration. And there will also be this time of 40 kilometers to finish. Gaudu has plenty of time to recover, at least three minutes and thirty seconds, if he wants to believe it.

Probability of podium in Paris: 15%

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