Today’s time-trial, through the vineyards of Bordeaux, was a little lacking in entertainment. The spectacle suffered for two reasons.
First, in contrast to the Stage 20 TT at last year’s Tour where Tadej Pogacar snatched victory from between the very fingers of his countryman Primoz Roglic, any jeopardy today was kept to a minimum.
Pogacar, of course, was never going to lose the six minutes that would’ve seen him lose the Tour. Jonas Vingegaard did more than enough to retain his second place overall over Carapaz, who sealed his third place without undue stress.
Second, Filippo Ganna was not present, having given this year’s Tour de France a miss. When the Italian swoops into the fray of a TT it’s like Taylor Swift showing up a student house party. Something dull and ordinary suddenly becomes fabulous.
A spot of the old Ganna stardust would’ve been very welcome today.
For the record Wout van Aert, The Man Who Can Do It All™, won the stage ahead of Kasper Asgreen and Stefan Kung. That’s his second stage in this year’s race – a TT to add to the massive Mont Ventoux epic on Stage 11 – and another entry on his already bulging Wikipedia page.
This Tour has not been short on incident. Perhaps a quiet, incident-free stage like today was needed to add the required context, the trough before the final peak of a Mark Cavendish win (could he?) on the Champs Elysees tomorrow.
Yes, Pogacar will win the Tour, but if Cav also wins the stage (and the Green Jersey) we’ll be glad we had a day to recharge our celebrating muscles.
Get yourself an early night.
It could be emotional.