Tadej Pogačar Dominates Stage 4 of Tour de France, Reclaims Yellow

The formidable climbs proved no match as Pogacar gapped Jonas Vingegaard and secured a decisive victory.


BY MICHAEL VENUTOLO-MANTOVANI |

Stage winner: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Race leader: Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)

Stages one and two were full of brutal, punchy climbs. Stage three was flat, the first day for the sprinters. And so, it made perfect sense that stage four brought the Tour de France into the thick of the Alps.

The one-hundred-thirty-nine-kilometre course kicked off in Pinerolo, immediately pitching up toward the Sestriéres, a nearly forty-kilometre climb. After a quick descent, they climbed again, this time up the Col de Montgenèvre, halfway up which the race moved from Italy into France. After descending into Briançon, the peloton climbed again, this time up the mighty Col du Galibier.

The peloton splintered almost immediately up the Siestiéres. Within a few kilometres, at least four groups were slowly snaking up the mountain, the lead of which included seventeen riders.

By the time the race reached the valley between the Montgenèvre and crossing into France, a group of seventeen leaders that included the polka-dot jersey Team Uno-X Mobility’s Jonas Abrahamsen had a two-minute advantage on the peloton, which included Richard Carapaz in the yellow jersey.

READ MORE: How Tour de France Riders Prep for Race Day

By the time the lead group reached the foot of the Galibier, their lead was one minute and fifty-two seconds. However, shortly after, that group itself split, quickly leaving Abrahamsen half a minute in their wake.

Meanwhile, the peloton steadily closed its gap at the Galibier pitched up, taking nearly a minute back over the climb’s first ten kilometres.

FDJ-Groupama’s David Gaudau was the first of the lead group to make a concerted move up the mountain, followed quickly by Movistar’s Oier Lazkano, who, in turn, dropped Gaudau with his own move.

All were caught with seven kilometres to the top.

Soon, a who’s who of this year’s tour took the front of the peloton, with Tadej Pogačar and his UAE Team Emirates teammates Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso, and João Almeida bookending Jonas Vingegaard. Immediately behind was BORA-hasngrohe’s Primož Roglič, Soudal-QuickStep’sRemco Evenepoel, and INEOS Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriguez.

Just like in stage two, Pogačar attacked only to find Vingegaard immediately on his wheel. However, the Galibier’s famous high switchbacks allowed Pogačar to gap the reigning Tour champion, and Pogačar eventually crossed over the top eight seconds ahead of Vingegaard. By then, the duo had nearly a forty-second lead on the rest of the group.

Try as he might, Vingegaard couldn’t get closer than ten seconds to Pogačar’s wheel.

Riders descend the Col du Galibier in the 2024 Tour de France
Photo: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

At the bottom of the mountain, Pogačar’s lead an insurmountable thirty seconds. On the other hand, Vingegaard’s gap to the group behind him disappeared, and he was soon swallowed up by Roglič, Rogriguez, Evenepoel, and Ayuso.

By the time the group of five crossed the line, Tadej Pogačar owned a thirty-five second over Remco Evenepoel, who crossed second. Behind him was Pogačar’s teammate, Juan Ayuso, who finished third in a move that importantly prevented Roglič, Rodriguez, and Vingegaard from netting more bonus time.

“This was more or less the plan, and we executed it really well,” Pogačar said of the UAE train that took him up the Galibier. “It was like a dream stage. It’s incredible. I wanted to hit hard today. I know this stage really well, I’ve been training here a lot of weeks. It felt like a home stage.

“At first, there was a lot of headwind in the climb, but the team did a super well job,” he added. “I didn’t want to go too early because of the wind. I was a little bit surprised to see wet roads on the first few corners (of the descent), so it was a little bit scary.”

READ MORE ON: 2024 Tour de France pro racing stage 4 Tour de France

Copyright © 2024 Hearst
.
.