Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) rolls home safe at the end of stage 4 of the 2022 Tour de France.

No stress for Tadej Pogačar, caught out of position on last climb of stage 4

“I was too far behind to follow, so I just tried to go as fast as possible to the top,” Pogačar said after a rare positioning error.

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Tadej Pogačar showed a rare moment of ordinary human weakness on stage 4, if not physically then tactically, as Jumbo-Visma lit it up on the final climb and the defending champion was left chasing a few groups backs.

“I was too far behind to follow, so I just tried to go as fast as possible to the top, to see what the situation was,” Pogačar told media after the stage. “In the end, it was OK because Wout van Aert dropped even his own teammates. When I saw that, I was more calm and I didn’t stress.”

Given the profile of the Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez, it’s remarkable that more teams were not prepared for Jumbo-Visma’s move. Only Ineos Grenadiers reacted when Van Aert’s teammates put the hammer down, and by the top of the one-kilometre climb, Adam Yates was best-placed a few lengths behind Van Aert with Jonas Vingegaard on his wheel. Geraint Thomas, Dani Martínez and Primož Roglič were a few seconds further back, while Pogačar was alongside Aleksandr Vlasov several metres further down the hill.

Jumbo-Visma would later admit that the plan was to do something for the stage and GC – Vingegaard was captured saying he was “so close” to Van Aert when they met after the finish before the pair celebrated with a bear hug – so perhaps they hoped to recreate their Paris-Nice spectacle.

Ultimately, though Van Aert stretched his own advantage in the race lead, there was no movement among the GC favourites, just a few shaken nerves after the first really tricky moment of the Tour.

Jumbo-Visma smash the peloton on the Côte du Cap Blanc-Nez.

“It was the first big, deep dig on the climb,” said Pogačar. “I felt good, the legs are OK and the lungs are clearly working. I was just a little bit out of position before the climb and had come from far behind, but it shows I’m in good shape.”

While the Grand Départ offered a couple of relatively easy days for the overall favourites, they’re now getting stuck into a week littered with difficulty. Maybe the biggest challenge facing the GC riders before the high mountains is stage 5’s ‘Paris-Roubaix’ pavé on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow I just need to survive,” Pogačar said of the cobbled stage 5. “It’ll be a big stage and I hope nothing serious, like crashes or something happens. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a really hard stage for everyone and a great show on television.” 

Editors' Picks