25 August 2018
A great talent is born…
The Tour de l’Avenir, in keeping with its tradition, is probably offering international cycling a new and great revelation. Not only will young Slovenian Tadej Pogaçar, 19 (he turns 20 next month), now take a serious option on the final victory, before the final stage, certainly the most difficult, this Sunday between Val d’Isère and Saint-Colomban-des-Villards. More than that, it’s really a great talent that Tadej Pogaçar flaunts …
The Slovenian, 3rd of the 9th stage in Val d’Isère won a strong fight by the Spaniard Fernando Barcelo, did better than to strengthen his yellow jersey. He has now widened the gaps, especially as the American Brandon McNulty, previously second overall, lost all chances in the long (22 km) final climb after having, it is true, overcome the handicap an untimely puncture. But the big loser is the Colombian Ivan Sosa, who was never able to go on the offensive, and remained unresponsive when the Yellow Jersey itself went on the attack twenty kilometers from the finish! Ivan Sosa, who has been struggling with stomach problems for 48 hours, is pushed back to 2’16 ” in the overall standings (10th) and it would now be a dramatic turnaround on the final stage for him to lengthen the list of Colombian winners (four out of eight previous editions) of the Tour de l’Avenir.
Audacity and panache
The yellow jersey Tadej Pogaçar caused a certain sensation anticipating far from the arrival, practically from the foot of the final ascent, on possible Colombian attacks that never happened. Gradually, the leader of the event, falling on the elegant Luxembourgish Michel Ries, who collaborated all the better now that he occupies the second rank of the general (1’7 ”), managed to widen a gap greater than the minute on the main platoon where Ivan Sosa figured, in a bad light. Tadej Pogoçar has shown a boldness and a temperament that reflects an impressive set of qualities. Already the winner of the GP Priessnitz Spa, in other words the former Peace Run, the Slovenian compact style does not really have the profile of a climber but contains a power that was expressed on the long but rolling ascension to Val d’Isere.
Despite everything, the yellow jersey strongly supported by Michel Ries, could not overcome the resistance of the Spaniard Fernando Barcelo, passed the attack from the previous difficulty and alone in the lead on the major from the last climb where he remained on the last ten kilometers in the line of sight of his two closest pursuers. A convincing stage success for the young Spanish, 22 years old, national champion against the clock and whose energetic style hides a beautiful panel of qualities.
The Tour de l’Avenir ends this Sunday with the most formidable of the four alpine stages, between Val d’Isère and Saint-Colomban-des-Villards, on the slopes of the Glandon Pass, after crossing the Iseran (the descent will be neutralized out of respect for the environmental constraints of the National Park of Vanoise and the deviations at the summit reported at Bonneval, km 28), but also the spectacular laces of Montvernier and the difficult Col de Chaussy. Although the positions now seem clarified in the overall standings, the hardest is yet to come.