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.
General classification after stage 11
- Jonas Vingegaard
- Romain Bardet +2:16
- Tadej Pogačar +2:22 (white jersey)
- Geraint Thomas +2:26
- Nairo Quintana +2:37
- Adam Yates +3:06
- David Gaudu +3:13
- Alexandr Vlasov +7:23
- Alexey Lutsenko +8:07
- 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.
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.