Only a week of the Tour de France is over, but the field of favorites looks disheveled as rarely at such an early stage. Some contenders have even dropped out of the classification completely. France’s favorite Thibaut Pinot, for example, lost almost 20 minutes to the competition due to the consequences of his back injury. National champion Sergio Higuita and the newly crowned winner of the Dauphiné tour, Dani Martinez, got it from the Colombian climbing group.
Black days for contenders are one of the dramas of the Tour de France. But it is astonishing that the co-captains of the strongest teams are already behind. Richard Carapaz, giro winner last year and after disregarding the old tour heroes Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas on Team Ineos as a joker alongside defending champion Egan Bernal, lost over two minutes. Tom Dumoulin, co-captain alongside Primoz Roglic at Jumbo Visma, suffered the same fate. “I didn’t feel so good. And instead of competing for tenth place in the Tour myself, I prefer to give everything for our team’s great goal of winning the Tour de France, ”said the Dutchman on Saturday and shook the field with a mighty acceleration on the Col de Peyresourde.
“Shaking the tree” was what Dumoulin’s teammate George Bennett later called this action. As prematurely ripened fruits, Spain’s hope Enric Mas, again Carapaz and also Germany’s best cyclist Emanuel Buchmann tumbled to the ground. Tree shaker Dumoulin also paid for the feat with later arrears. But his calculation was: If I’m not good enough to be able to ride in the group to the end, then at least I want to cause damage to the competition.
The former Giro winner succeeded in doing this. How smart it is that he gave his racing team an end to the two-captain option at an early stage will become clear in the third week. But now the Dutchman’s kamikaze action revived the race. “It’s cool for the tour that everything is so open. Ineos is not the dominant team. Jumbo Visma is also showing initial weaknesses. It’s good for an exciting tour, ”said Ralph Denk, boss de Bora-Rennstalls, opposite“ nd ”. He can be less satisfied with the performance of his top man Buchmann. The Ravensburger climbing talent held up bravely in view of his injuries until Saturday. “He limited the damage there. He drove smart, fought to the end. But it was also clear to us that due to his fall injuries, he would not be 100 percent at the Dauphiné. Cycling is a very predictable sport. And based on the preliminary work, we had to expect that he would be behind, «analyzed Denk. “With his Dauphiné shape and without a fall, he would certainly have ridden with the favorites and would not even have had to go to his limits,” said Denk.
But on Sunday Buchmann could no longer. Early on on the last mountain of the day, the Col de la Marie Blanque, he had to let the other favorites go. It wasn’t a tightening of the tempo that made him tear off. He just couldn’t put enough power into the pedals. Two or three minutes were quickly lost. The 27-year-old still has a kind of desperate hope. Immediately after the rest day on this Monday, a wind edge stage over 168.5 kilometers along the Atlantic coast is on the program. “It gets interesting there. You can quickly gain a lot of time or lose a lot «, said team boss Denk. “Shaking trees” can happen all by itself. And how well the BoraTeam Windkante can drive in particular was shown on Friday’s stage, which on paper seems easy. The Slovenian Tadej Pogacar and the Spaniard Mikel Landa lost time. And the Ineos team also failed to bring their Carapaz, who started as co-leader, forward.
After the performances in the Pyrenees, a Slovenian-Colombian four-way battle for the tour victory is now on the horizon. Pogacar has emerged as the strongest climber at the moment. With a determined attack on Saturday, more than half of the time lost on the windward edge was regained. On Sunday, too, he walked away from the rival, at least briefly. Only compatriot Roglic and Colombian Nairo Quintana presented themselves on the same level with him on Saturday. Neither of them seemed to have the guts or the determination to pull off the joint attempt to break away. They broke off, then Pogacar competed again and couldn’t be stopped by anyone.
So far, defending champion Bernal has kept himself completely out of the attack business. His team Ineos has so far been slowing down the defense speed. On Sunday he was at eye level again and was in the same group as the two Slovenes. Quintana slacked off a bit here, but still needs to be considered. Bernal, on the other hand, seems to be slowly reaching operating temperature. On Saturday he had to admit: “I couldn’t follow the attack. I just didn’t believe it was possible to go up that pace to the summit. So I tried to find my own pace. ”On Sunday he was right at the front with no particular effort. His strength is the third week. The shape curve of his team is also geared towards this period.
So the most exciting questions are how long Roglic and his Jumbo Visma team can keep their excellent early form – and when will Bernal’s form peak come? Pogacar and Quintana could take on their own solo roles in this fight. You have no team support, but you seem extremely strong.