Cycling

Tadej Pogacar wins stage 17 but Jonas Vingegaard protects yellow jersey lead

Pogacar celebrates reaching the top of Peyragudes ahead of Vingegaard

Tadej Pogacar won stage 17 of the Tour de France, edging Jonas Vingegaard in a thrilling sprint on top of Peyragudes in the Pyrenees, but he was only able to cut the Danish rider’s lead at the top of the standings by four seconds.

The two contenders in the General Classification standings reached the bottom of the final climb of the day together, setting up a dramatic duel in the battle for the yellow jersey.

With defending champion Pogacar trailing Vingegaard by two minutes and 22 seconds, the 23-year-old Slovenian required an immense final effort and was put into position to attack by team-mate Brandon McNulty.

But McNulty stuck, setting a brutal pace up the steep climb, and only relented on the final ramp. It was there where Pogacar timed his attack to perfection, but Vingegaard will be the big winner of the stage after retaining a healthy lead in the race to Paris.

It will also come as a significant moment in this year’s Tour de France, with Pogacar and Team UAE throwing everything they had at Vingegaard in a final assault.

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While there is another big mountain stage to come in the Pyrenees tomorrow, Vingegaard did not crack under the pressure and has passed another test as the 25-year-old aims to win the Tour de France for the first time.

Geraint Thomas dropped away from Vingegaard and Pogacar in the standings after being left on the final Peyragudes as the Welsh rider moved to protect third place and his position on the podium. Thomas has a three-minute lead over Nairo Quintana, who is fourth.

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