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picture to text "The last mountain stage puts Vlasov within reach of fourth place"

The last mountain stage puts Vlasov within reach of fourth place

Tour: Bora Commander continues to make gains

By Sebastian Lindner

Alexander Vlasov (Bora – Hansgrohe) at the end of the eighteenth stage of the tour | Photo: SprintCycling

07/21/2022 | rsn) – the Tour de France’s hopeful podium won’t work, and that probably won’t change if Alexander Vlasov (Bora-Hensgrohe) manages to get through the Tour without a fall in the first week. The duo of Jonas Weinggaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Poujacar (Team UAE) are out anyway, and Gerant Thomas (Inios Grenadiers) has also proven to be very stable and perhaps better than expected. But after the last mountain stage, one thing is certain: Vlasov even has the chance to finish his first run as “best of the rest”, fourth.

The Russian also finished the eighteenth stage to the summit of the mountain in Otakam in ninth place, 4:04 minutes behind the winner of the day, Vinggaard, among the candidates for fourth place. “I couldn’t keep up with Vingegaard and Pogacar, they are on a different level,” Vlasov said. “But with the other guys, yes.” In fact, the 26-year-old managed to keep all his opponents behind him, with the exception of David Gawdo (Groupama – FDJ). The Frenchman finished fifth with 66 seconds against Vlasov. Luis Meintjes (Intermarche-Wante-Jobert), Nairo Quintana (Arcaia-Samsek) and Roman Bardet (DSM) finished behind Captain Bora.

“I’m glad I’m back to my old level,” said Vlasov, who had to struggle a bit between them. “Second Mountain” – Col de Spandelles (the first cat) driven for the first time in Tour history – “It was tough, I had to let it go off at first, but I got into my rhythm.” His teammates Patrick Conrad and Maximilian Schachmann but then put Vlasov back on Quintana’s rear wheel. In this position he then went to the last climb.

Can Vlasov outperform three competitors at the time of the trial?

But the day could have gone differently for Vlasov. Meintjes and Enric Mas (Movistar) had already attacked before the Col d’Aubisque. “I thought about joining the group as well. But when I started, I had Quintana and Godo behind me right away.” So Vlasov turned to a more defensive tactic, which in the end proved to be the right choice. He was in a good position on the last ascent when the group of class knights had completely exploded. “Then it was a daunting solo experience.” And Vlasov did well at that.

And best of all: there’s another real thing coming. At the twentieth stage, according to the protocol, everything is against the clock. More than 40 km, flat. Compared to the direct competition for places, Vlasov can be considered the strongest. In seventh overall, he is currently 14:10 minutes behind the yellow jersey. But only 27 seconds on Mentjes, who is sixth, and another eight seconds on Quintana, who is fifth.

It’s 3:05 minutes to Gaudu in fourth, but that’s nothing ideal given the little French’s less obvious experimental qualities. There is no danger from behind. Bardet in eighth place already has two minutes more than Vlasov, but he shares the same fate with fellow countryman Judo.

When asked about the day of the decision, the Russian already knows what to do: “All in. I have no other chance.” If Vlasov is indeed able to take fourth place in the overall standings, it will be more than limiting the damage after a difficult situation in the meantime. .