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Gallery: Jonas Vingegaard shows pure class on final mountain stage to all but secure 2022 Tour de France victory

21 Jul 2022

That’s it, the mountains of the 2022 Tour de France are over and what a wild ride it has been, culminating today with Jonas Vingegaard showing that he is a true champion, whether he makes it to Paris or not.

Stage 18 was always going to be a crazy day, with a huge stage victory on the line, places on GC to be gained and defended, as well as the ongoing fight for the polka dot jersey to contend with.

Early breaks came and went and came back again, with the eventual escapees comprising a huge group, including the man who had attacked first at the flag, Wout van Aert. Honestly Wout, have a day off.

Just three remained once they had crossed the day’s first major climbs climbs of the Col d’Aubisque and Col de Spandelles: Thibaut Pinot, Dani Martínez and… Wout van Aert. For goodness sake, Wout.

Behind, it was, of course, Tadej Pogačar who lit things up, needing to claw bag a bunch of time to put himself within a shot of taking yellow from Vingegaard in Saturday’s time-trial.

Attack after attack came, and we even had an attack from Geraint Thomas that looked good for a few seconds, before Pogačar, Sepp Kuss and Vingegaard rode straight past him. Try as he might, however, the Slovenian just couldn’t shake his Danish rival.

It was a Spandelles Ballet on the descent that followed, as the narrow roads and loose stones led to both Vingegaard and Pogačar coming unstuck, with the latter actually coming off his bike in the grass. But we then saw the yellow jersey waiting for the white jersey to catch back up in the best show of sportsmanship seen in this sport for a long time. They even had a handshake.

Onto the final climb of Hautacam, Van Aert attacked his companions, dropping Pinot and Martínez, while Kuss started putting the hammer down for Vingegaard, delivering him to the wheel of Van Aert before peeling off.

We were then met with an incredible scene of the green jersey, yellow jersey and white jersey climbing together on the final mountain of the Tour. And even more incredible was that Van Aert’s pacing dropped Pogačar. This man. The absolute cheek. He’ll now go on to win all three remaining stages, just watch.

Vingegaard rode on solo to a famous victory in the yellow jersey on Hautacam. Not the first Dane to do so, but the best. He also bagged himself the polka dot jersey in the process. Sorry, Simon Geschke.

Here are our photographic highlights from yet another historic day at the Tour, courtesy of Godingimages.

‘They thought we couldn’t get both yellow and green, now we’ve got yellow, green and polka dots.’

It’s a shame Wout is sponsored by Red Bull because he is relentless.

Trek-Segafredo gave it a go to get Giulio Ciccone the polka dots but in the end he just wasn’t the best climber this year. Funny how that works out.

Is that the new Canyon Ultimate? Not for me to say.

Not exactly sure what’s going on with Pinot here.

It’s a shame the riders are in too much pain to enjoy the Pyrenean scenery.

At least the fans get to. Largely Spanish round here too, shame that a Spanish rider hasn’t won a stage of the Tour since Omar Fraile in 2018.

There’s a song about this.

Absolute specimen. Would’ve enjoyed any of these three getting a result to be honest.

After UAE Team Emirates put in the team effort of the Tour yesterday, Jumbo-Visma decided to put them to the sword.

Sepp Kuss is deadly.

But it was Van Aert that put the final nail in, and he loved every second of it. There was the potential for him to take the KOM jersey today too had he won the stage, imagine that.

Take a b… Oh, he is. Thanks Jonas, good job pal.

Now that is a photograph.

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