With this stage victory under his belt, Vingegaard of Denmark should be able to ride up the Champs Elysees on July 24 and claim the 2022 title.
Stage 18 of the Tour de France took place on Thursday, and Jonas Vingegaard showed great sportsmanship by waiting for defending champion Tadej Pogacar after the latter had fallen.
Vingegaard went on to beat his Slovenian rival by more than a minute atop the Hautacam mountain.
With his lead from the stage victory, Vingegaard of Denmark should be able to ride over the Champs Elysees on Sunday and claim the 2022 title barring calamity or a severe fall.
Tour de France: Vingegaard Rides Clear to Win Stage 18 and Close on Title – as it Happened
In 1996, Bjarne Riis was defeated on the Hautacam by Jonas Vingegaard, a champion who had seemed unbeatable.
And when Pogacar came down the Col de Spandelles, and Vingegaard was waiting for him, that was a moment in history.
For several reasons, not the least of which being that Vingegaard had previously appeared to loose his chain and Pogacar had attacked.
Pogacar refused to attack farther on the downhill because he knew Vingegaard was the superior and stronger man, and he told his team car as much.
Pogacar crosses the finish line with his head bowed, his shirt open and blowing in the alpine air.
When he was knocked down, he got back up, but he still couldn’t defeat his inspired and formidable opponent.
Van Aert, who has been dominating the stage and has likely set up his partner to win the stage and the Tour de France, comes in behind him.
Jonas Vingegaard Moves Closer to 2022 Tour de France Title After Claiming Last Mountain Stage
Dane wins for the second time in this race, increasing his advantage over Tadej Pogacar to 3 minutes and 26 seconds with three stages to go.
After winning stage 18 on Thursday, road cyclist Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is one step closer to claiming the 2022 Tour de France (21 July).
After completing the Hautacam climb solo, the Dane extended his advantage over Tadej Pogacar in the overall standings to over three and a half minutes with only three stages remaining.
Vingegaard fought off repeated assaults from the Slovenian and lost the two-time reigning champion on the last hill with just over 4 kilometres to go, eventually finishing more than a minute ahead of him.
The current wearer of the yellow jersey exclaimed, “This is wonderful, this morning I stated to my partner and my daughter that I wanted to win for them and I did.”
“It means a lot to me that I was able to bring home the victory for them. It’s intended primarily for my two daughters at home.”
In a departure from the Pyrenees, the Tour will race across France on Friday, covering the 188.3-kilometer flat stage from Castelnau-Magnoac to Cahors.
Pogacar gave up the ghost on the penultimate ascent on Thursday, when Vingegaard’s Jumbo teammate Wout van Aert functioned as a sherpa for his team leader.
Some 28 kilometres from home, Pogacar miscalculated a bend, and Vingegaard cut inside of him, startling the Slovenian and causing him to lose control of his bike and fall into a gutter.
The champion got up quickly, bandaging his gashed left hand and continuing the chase at full speed.