Tadej Pogacar’s increasing dominance at this year’s Tour de France appears to be down him taking the initiative when faced with a challenge.
A blistering display towards the end of Stage 9 saw the reigning champion re-establish his dominance of the general classification, putting more time on his rivals for the yellow jersey.
In Tignes, it was an attempted attack by one of those rivals Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) at 4km that spurred the UAE Team Emirates man into action, leaving the Ecuadorian in his wake.
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Pogacar now leads the GC by 2:01 over stage winner Ben O’Connor in second place and is 5:18 ahead of third place Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo).
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Speaking on The Breakaway, the panel were impressed with Pogacar's decision-making and willingness to take chances.
“Pogacar, barring any incident, looks head and shoulders above everybody else,” said Brian Smith.
“The hardest thing I think for UAE is holding him back.
“They decided to try and keep numbers towards the front all day and they did a tremendous job just holding him back but I don’t think he planned to go and attack there.
“Carapaz went and he followed him, rolled off the front looked at him and went ‘I’m just going to go’.”
Highlights as O'Connor takes Stage 9 victory on wet and windy day in the Alps
“He seems to call his own shots,” Orla Chennaoui added, to which Smith agreed.
“Yesterday he called his own shots and put his team to the front ‘I’m going to do something today’ and put his own imprint on the first big mountain stage," he continued.
“Today he decided to put a further few seconds into everyone else”
Dan Lloyd then joked: “It was almost like he was thinking ‘well I might as well’."
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