Grand Colombier (dpa) – The Slovenia Express with tour supporter Primoz Roglic raced up the orphaned slopes of the Grand Colombier as if unleashed, defeated defending champion Egan Bernal just shook his head.
Stage winner Tadej Pogacar and yellow carrier Roglic ensured a one-two Slovenian victory in the 107th Tour de France on Sunday with a famous top storm at 1501 meters above sea level in a ghostly background.
Thanks to the bonus seconds, Pogacar moved up to 40 seconds on leader Roglic in the general classification. Bernal, on the other hand, was on the 15th stage of the unusual 17.4-kilometer climbing route with an average gradient of 7.1 percent, which was barred by spectators due to the corona pandemic, with a large gap behind the loser of the day.
Roglic remains in the lead in the general classification after 2,648.5 kilometers and the former ski jumper can get over the small loss of seconds. Because the 30-year-old and his super team Jumbo-Visma have not shown any weakness so far. The Colombian climbing stars around Bernal, on the other hand, are increasingly demoralized. Because Roglic and Pogacar are in a different competition.
The German aces played only a minor role in trading blows for the “Pyramid of Bugey”. Emanuel Buchmann has not yet reached his old level and was unable to intervene in today’s battle for victory. After the “effort” of the past two days, Lennard Kämna also saw no more heroic acts. But the man with the long beard has returned: Simon Geschke, who won a tour stage in Pra-Loup five years ago, was in a leading group.
But the Roglic squad quickly made it clear that the final climb is top priority. The Dutch team showed a dominance like the Ineos team in the past, which this time disintegrated into all its parts on the final climb. Perhaps it was a big mistake not to nominate veteran ex-tour winner Geraint Thomas.
Who can stop the Slovenes now? Perhaps the greatest danger lies in the corona tests on the second day of rest. The strict rules still apply. If two members of a team test positive for the virus, the entire team is excluded. A team does not only consist of the eight drivers, but also of the respective supervisors.
Concerns about the virus are a constant companion to the tour. More than 10,000 new infections were first reported in France on Saturday and tour director Christian Prudhomme is still in quarantine after a positive test. Those responsible still assume that they will reach Paris. “We have prepared several scenarios for Paris. There will certainly be limitations,” said Claude Rach of the organizer ASO.
It all comes down to the fact that Roglic will take his amazing metamorphosis from ski jumper to tour winner to a grand final. Since the restart after the Corona break, the Slovenian has been driving away from the competition. On the Colombier, he was spurred on by Pogacar, but the 30-year-old has the mountain time trial in store on the penultimate day.
The German Bora-hansgrohe team had to pay tribute to the efforts of the past days. On Saturday, the team had worked hard for most of the day, but was not rewarded with fourth place for Peter Sagan in the victory of Sören Kragh Andersen from Denmark. On Friday, the Bora team had bad luck with a second and third place for Kämna and Maximilian Schachmann.
After the rest day on Monday, the 16th stage continues for 164 kilometers from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans. Five mountain assessments, including one in the first category, are demanding. However, these obstacles in the Alps are unlikely to lead to changes at the top of the general classification.