Jonas Vingegaard wins stage 11 after beating Tadej Pogacar in sprint

Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) emerged victorious in Stage 11 of the 2024 Tour de France following an impressive performance in the Massif Central, narrowly defeating his fierce competitor Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at the Le Lioran finish. Pogacar initiated an aggressive move on the Puy Mary-Pas de Peyrol, prompting Vingegaard to respond and stay on par with the Slovenian, ultimately edging out the Yellow Jersey wearer in an exhilarating stage finale. Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) crossed the line 25 seconds later to claim third place, while Primoz Roglic (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) overcame a late crash to secure fourth, finishing 55 seconds behind the front-runners. As a result, Pogacar maintains his lead in the General Classification, now 1 minute and 6 seconds ahead of Evenepoel, with Vingegaard in third (+1:14) and Roglic in fourth (+2:45).

A high pace from the start
Following the withdrawal before the stage due to illness of Tim Declercq (Lidl – Trek), there were 171 riders on the start line in Evaux-les-Bains, with the peloton ready for a challenging 211 km route across the rugged Massif Central and 4,350 metres of vertical gain ahead of them. Anticipating that a strong breakaway could prosper and potentially win at the finish line, the first two hours of the stage produced a relentless series of attacks and were completed at a remarkable average speed of 47.1 km/h on the hilly parcours. This high pace claimed two victims, namely Ion Izagirre and Alexis Renard. Both Cofidis cyclists were already affected by illness and injury respectively, meaning they were dropped – and ended up abandoning as the peloton powered ahead.

Fierce fight for breakaway
As the battle to establish a breakaway raged on, Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) was first in the intermediate sprint at Bourg-Lastic (IS, km 65). It was not until km 76 that the determined Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) and Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies) managed to outwit the peloton. By the time they reached the top of the Côte de Mouilloux (Cat. 4, km 79.8) Oscar Onley (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Paul Lapeira (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) and Oier Lazkano (Movistar Team) had joined them. Lazkano topped the Mouilloux first and the peloton were still only 12” behind the leading six riders, with UAE Team Emirates, Visma-Lease to Bike and Ineos Grenadiers controlling things. The main group would relax somewhat on the Côte de Larodde (Cat. 3, km 89.7), where five men set out on a quest to join the riders at the head of the race: those five being Bruno Armirail (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale), Julien Bernard (Lidl-Trek), Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ), Guillaume Martin and Axel Zingle (Cofidis). Carapaz was first on the Larodde summit, where the five pursuers would arrive 40” later and the peloton were 1’30” adrift of the front men. Although Zingle sat up, the other four counterattackers managed to join up with the six in front, to make it a consolidated breakaway of ten at km 101 of the stage.

UAE control the breakaway
A maximum gap of 2’30” between the leaders and the bunch was recorded at km 111, which was the moment chosen by the UAE Team Emirates to control the the breakaway. The threat became clear on the approach to the climb of the Col de Néronne, with the selection already becoming very severe within the peloton, which left the likes of Romain Bardet and Geraint Thomas behind. At the head of the race, Lazkano was responsible for reducing the competition around him and was only accompanied by Healy when he reached the summit of the Col de Néronne.

The race explodes
Starting the ascent to Puy Mary-Pas de Peyrol, a Lazkano-Carapaz-Healy trio came back together, but with hope fading and their lead reduced to 30”. Irish rider Healy was the last to hold out, but he was caught 1 km from the summit by a main group reduced to 10 riders. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) went on the offensive 600 meters from the summit, 32 kilometers from the finish line. He created a gap of 5” on Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) at the top, which he expanded to 30” on the descent, but he was unable to defend the lead on the climb to the Col de Pertus. 100 meters from the top, the Yellow Jersey was joined by his Danish rival, whom he still beat to the summit to grab the 8” bonus point. The Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) and Primoz Roglic (Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe) duo were 45’’ behind by that point. On the final climb Pogacar and Vingegaard ascended together, with Vingegaard ultimately able to finish the job at the finish at Le Lioran.

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