Rivals since children in cyclocross and separated by 30 seconds in the general of the Tour de France. Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert once again measured their forces in the escape from the Massif Central and opened a gap of 3:25 with respect to the favorites. “We have known each other well since we were kids and we coincide by age (the Dutchman was born in 1995 and the Belgian in 1994) in many races. It is nice to meet us in the fight for wins and the yellow jersey, but it should not give him a second of advantage. I want to keep this garment as long as possible ”, summarized Van der Poel.
Regarding the time he put the men destined to play the Paris box, he valued it as anecdotal: “I don’t think taking 3:43 from Pogacar now marks a different future for me on the Tour. There are many mountains remaining, ports that require more than an hour of effort, and for that type of ascents I look too heavy (75 kg). However, every day in yellow counts, and more so in our family (his grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, never wore the leader’s jersey) ”.
Van der Poel and Van Aert they agreed to ensure that their “marking” allowed “a great Mohoric to take decisive differences to win”. “Perhaps it is a very difficult defect to correct,” he joked. Van Aert, who also considers his 78 kilos a drawback: “My weight is what it is, and for the Alps and the Pyrenees I think it will weigh me down against the title candidates”. That is why he is not opting for the Jumbo stripes after Roglic’s collapse: “In these conditions, I don’t know if I have the capacity to finish at the top of the Tour classification. Perhaps Vingegaard (at 5:18 am of Van der Poel), a purer climber, will do better than me ”.
Meanwhile, Tadej Pogacar, whom everyone in the peloton points to as the virtual boss of the round, minimized losses on a very difficult day: “We dispersed a bit at the start of the day and that’s why we were wrong. Still, we limit the damage. Neither Van der Poel nor Van Aert had to go away for ten minutes ”. The Slovenian sent a message to his rivals: “I saw that many were weakening and they told us that the responsibility for the persecution fell on us because I am the strongest. I am not always, but the mountains are coming ”.