There is no antidote in sight for the latest cycling phenomenon. Tadej Pogacar blows up the Tour in the first time trial, stage five, not even after the opening week and the 22-year-old Slovenian is already expanding with the naturalness that emanates from his power on the bike. Pogacar, who may be the best climber of the race, won the time trial that was supposed to elevate Van Aert, the Belgian prodigy who does everything well. The golden generation of cycling camps on the Tour as if they were in their backyard. Pogacar beat and Mathieu van der Poel held the yellow jersey, only eight seconds, but conquered by fire. The red face, which exploded at the edges of the helmet to keep the dream of ambition.
The clock counters of the Tour, except for honorable exceptions (that of Lemond and Fignon, Induráin’s imperial walks for what we have to do in Spain, last year with Pogacar overthrowing Roglic) are usually a count of minutes and seconds, with no greater grace than analyzing what happened.
Although it is the maximum field of expression of the cyclist, the stage where races are lost or won, for the spectator it is usually less exciting than the body. It was not like that this Wednesday in June, the fight between the best was fantastic.
A Stefan Kung’s face was made of glass when Pogacar broke into the first timing point and struck down the records. He is impetuous and does not usually stop the 22-year-old Slovenian, but that looked like carnage and surrender for many.
No para Van der Poel, proud defender of his yellow jacket for the fifth day in a row, a blessing for cycling this Dutch fury. It’s not a time trial, but it looks like it. He is not a climber, but we still do not know his performance on the Tour. In theory it should not be in the fight for yellow in the Alps, but who knows how far it can go.
At the Danish cycling festival (there were four classified in the top ten for many minutes, Vingegaard, Bjerg, Asgreen and Andersen) some candidates saw the seams. Mal Geraint Thomas, Tour 18 winner, grieving recipient of a dislocated man’s fall a few days ago. Bad Nairo Quintana, who has already said that he wants stages and forget the stress of the general. And bad Supermán López, the Colombian from Movistar.
Nor did Roglic appear at his usual height, 44 seconds worse than Pogacar. The trace of his bruises has been felt in his performance. Enric Mas was acceptable, a lightweight climber, who lost 1.49 to the flying Slovenian. Also on his site Richard Carapaz (gave 1.43).
The time trial provides a favorable scenario for Pogacar and his team, the Emirates, and another itinerary for the Jumbo, dominant last year and forced to fight back now. He has alternatives with Van Aert (22 seconds behind Pogacar in the general), Vingegaard (1.35) and Roglic (1.40). Allied in interests with Van der Poel’s Alpecin, Pogacar is sleeping soundly today after the damage it has caused on the Tour.