In Stage 16 Tadej Pogacar tried to create some momentum but Jumbo-Visma stopped that right in its tracks with a flawless team execution. Pogacar’s efforts were strong, however, their lack of purpose allowed them to fall into the net of Jumbo.
With just two mountain stages left to take the lead back, Pogacar seems to have time against him.
But Pogacar does not need more stages, he simply needs to focus on just where he can turn things around and create momentum.
So when should he start? Well TOMORROW, stage 17. Jumbo had a great day today and will be over confident as well as cautious the day before the hardest stage or the Pyrenees.
So what should he focus on?
- Fueling! Already made this mistake and it appears Jonas has not yet, so be ready to rumble no matter what with full glycogen storages before, and keep them the best he can during the race eating and drinking aggressively through the race.
- Maximize the chaos in the start of the short stage. With this stage coming late in the Tour almost everyone is massively down on GC. Meaning 3/4’s of the peloton can go in the breaks. Attacks will fly so The start of the stage is rolling, so put teammates in the moves but if they get out of control jump to some big groups with teammates. This is to simply put pressure on Jumbo, Jonas, and to make the race hard from the start.
- Now with a hard start, whether in move or not, the first climb up the Col D’Aspin will be looney tunes. This is where Pogacar must make his first big move as likely there will be no teammates ahead. He has to go easy on the climb and drag Jonas away from his teammates. On the steep sections ride a super hard pace while the shallower sections use lower zones to use similar energy to Jonas who will be sitting on.
- Ride the second climb smoothly with lower zones keeping the gap but not backing down, eating and drinking, and flowing to the third climb.
- On The Col de Val Louron-Azet absolutely full send of a mix of short (30 second) and long accelerations (1 min) at the base of the climb. Here is where he can make the gap as it seems far from the finish and Jonas will use Sepp to pace potentially to avoid blowing up, or he will come with and possibly blow up. THIS IS OK as Jonas is close to Sepp in speed, so if there is a gap, for him to jump across it will be VERY HARD to do.
- Pogacar must race to lose on this second to last climb. Everything here and let Jonas know he is going to go down trying, not afraid to lose. With 2 mins on GC it’s hard to see Jonas coming with.
- On the final climb, give everything. If solo, try and stay away. If with Jonas, keep trying attacks like the second climb but this time in the last half of the climb.
*If this doesn’t work it’s ok, sets the stage for a better shot for success on Stage 18. If Jonas is stronger, that’s ok, he’s stronger. You have got to try!