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Pogacar wins stage 17, Vingegaard keeps yellow

Van Aert puts iron grip on green jersey
Tadej Pogacar, left, and Team Jumbo-Visma leader Jonas Vingegaard battle for the stage win and yellow jersey Wednesday in the Tour de France. Pogacar won the stage, but Vingegaard stayed in yellow. (Courtesy Team Jumbo-Visma)

On Wednesday in the second Pyrenees stage of the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar took the stage win for UAE Team Emirates, but Team Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard finished second to hold onto the General Classification lead. Vingegaard gave up four seconds on the day, but still leads the two-time defending champion by 2 minutes, 18 seconds.

Durangoan Sepp Kuss, fourth from the front, competes in Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday. (Courtesy Team Jumbo-Visma)

Vingegaard and Pogacar were the only ones who could follow the scorching pace of Brandon McNulty, Pogacar’s teammate, on the penultimate climb. On the Peyragudes, McNulty brought the two rivals to the line. Although Vingegaard launched the sprint, Pogacar won. McNulty crossed third for UAE Emirates.

“Of course I would have liked to win the stage, but a finish like this just suits him better,” Vingegaard said. “It was a fight today and I am happy I could follow Pogacar and McNulty. It isn’t nice to be isolated on the penultimate climb, but I definitely can't blame the guys. They worked hard.”

With one challenging Pyrenees stage to go, things are starting to look brighter and brighter for Vingegaard. However, the Dane does not want to look too far ahead. "I take it day by day. Tomorrow Pogacar will try again and then it's up to me to follow him. Tomorrow's climb is longer and suits me better.“

Wout van Aert virtually secured his green jersey on the stage for Jumbo-Visma. “This morning, I didn't know I could secure the jersey already. But at the intermediate sprint, there was no breakaway yet so that I could take the points quite easily,” Van Aert said. “I still have to stay on my bike and make it to Paris. If I can wear that jersey on Sunday night, I have achieved my goal. Of course I would be very proud of that.”

Durangoan Sepp Kuss finished 25th on the stage for Jumbo-Visma, crossing 9:24 after Pogacar. Kuss also moved up two spots in the GC to 19th (+54:22).

Fellow Durangoan Quinn Simmons finished 45th on the stage for Trek Segafredo, 20:09 back. Simmons also moved up two spots in the GC to 65th (+2:40:25) and he remained in 10th in the youth division, which Pogacar leads.

Team Jumbo-Visma leader Jonas Vingegaard, right, and Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates battle for the stage win and yellow jersey Wednesday in the second Pyrenees stage of the Tour de France. (Courtesy Team Jumbo-Visma)