Jonas Vingegaard stalks Tadej Pogačar near the top of the Col du Galibier during stage 11 of the 2022 Tour de France.

How does the GC look after the Tour’s first big mountain shakeup?

Stage 11 saw a dramatic shakeup in the GC top 10, with Jonas Vingegaard moving into yellow and Tadej Pogačar slipping to third.

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The Tour is barely into its second half, but the action has been coming thick and fast, and never more so than on stage 11. With ten stages to go, Jonas Vingegaard now leads the Tour de France by 2:16 after taking victory on a breathless day in the Alps.

The stage that featured the highest point of the 2022 Tour will surely go down as a key moment of the modern era as the seemingly unbreakable Tadej Pogačar was distanced on the climb to the finish, and there was a serious shakeup in the general classification.

Jonas Vingegaard took a phenomenal stage victory and a commanding lead in the yellow jersey.

General classification after stage 11

  1. Jonas Vingegaard
  2. Romain Bardet +2:16
  3. Tadej Pogačar +2:22 (white jersey)
  4. Geraint Thomas +2:26
  5. Nairo Quintana +2:37
  6. Adam Yates +3:06
  7. David Gaudu +3:13
  8. Aleksandr Vlasov +7:23
  9. Alexey Lutsenko +8:07
  10. Enric Mas +9:29

A GC showdown

Jumbo-Visma took the Tour by the scruff of the neck, as was inevitable, between the Col du Télégraphe and the foot of the final hors-category climb of Col du Granon. The Dutch outfit was determined to put the two-time champion and his diminished UAE Team Emirates under pressure, and all things considered, it was a huge success – although perhaps they could have avoided bringing Rafał Majka back into contention, for the little good it did the incumbent leader in the end.

Vingegaard’s 2:16 lead over second-place Romain Bardet (DSM) is considerable, but there is a host of challengers amassed behind.

Romain Bardet climbed to second overall the day before Bastille Day…

The podium is still up for grabs

Until now, the top 10 looked fairly steady, with Pogačar on top – because Pogačar – Vingegaard chasing in second, and a couple of Ineos Grenadiers tussling on the third step. The battle over French pride was taking place a little further down, and Enric Mas hovered interminably around the bottom.

But after the second of three high mountain days in the Alps, and the biggest, most dramatic GC showdown we’ve seen in years, it looks very different.

While one man executed the final phase of Jumbo-Visma’s master plan and climbed onto the top step of the podium, many others grabbed hold of a rare opportunity to take back time as fireworks went off around them. And now, at the end of stage 11, second through seventh are separated by just 57 seconds, and second to fifth? 21 seconds, Geraint Thomas just four seconds from knocking Pogačar off the podium.

If it was Froome circa 2016 on the top step and lesser challengers behind (sorry Quintana), or the final week of the Tour, we might be talking about a race for second, but there’s a long way to go yet.

Out of contention

One rider in particular who dropped completely out of contention was Primož Roglič. The three-time Vuelta champion wasn’t really in the GC picture after a disastrous stage 5, but before today he was 2:52 off the yellow jersey, which proved a slim enough margin to trouble Pogačar on stage 11. The older Slovenian acted as bait for his compatriot, forcing the yellow jersey to follow attacks, or to put the hammer down when Roglič began to fall away near the top of the Galibier.

Roglič reached the summit of the Col du Granon alongside Sepp Kuss, both grinning after their team pulled off an extraordinary day in the French Alps. Roglič only dropped one place overall, slipping to 14th, but he lost almost 12 minutes to put to bed any GC hopes and fully embrace a super-domestique role.

Job done.

Movistar’s Enric Mas is another who lost time, shedding a GC-ending 8:18 on another jour sans for the Spanish team. The 25-year-old is still in the top 10, but with a 9:29 deficit he’ll have a hard time doing better than his career-best fifth place at the 2020 Tour, not to mention twice second overall at the Vuelta a España, including in 2021.

With a long time trial not far over the horizon to add to his troubles, probably the best Mas can do is lose a little more time, then go on the attack in the Pyrenees and take himself and his team a much-needed stage win.

One of the biggest ‘losers’ of the day though – along with brief second-placer Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) – was Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), whose ten days there or thereabouts on GC came to an end during Jumbo-Visma’s Alpine ambush. The American lost almost 27 minutes, but, like Mas, it frees him up to go for stage wins.

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