Tour de France 2022 | Let’s make Thibaut Pinot win: Week 3

If the first week of our Tour de France was harsh on the cobblestones of the North, we breathed fresh air in the second. Two stage wins in Lausanne and Chatel. The difficulties in the high mountains, of course, but a 4th place overall behind the two Slovenians and Vlasov. So there is only one goal for the Pyrenees: to kick Vlasov off the podium to do better than last year.

From the beginning, we are placed in Mende.

The final sprint starts in Lozère, at the top of the Croix Neuve climb aka the Laurent Jalabert climb (what a bad memory). But in our desire to play on the podium at all costs, we Pogacarise ourselves a little. Futile attacks to finally end up slamming at the end, Vlasov saw us overtaken and also lost precious seconds. The strategy should be reviewed immediately.

Might as well tell you. On the way back to the team bus, we picked up a great blower from Marc Madiot. What is this small attack worthy of a village criterion? We are here to create a podium in the Tour. So, Carcassonne-Foix, we mark it well, and we will make sure that things are done well.

We gripped our tires tightly throughout the stage, and we attacked the very steep parts of the Péguère wall, accompanied by an Alaphilix (surely Alain Philippe’s cousin). The goal is clear, net, precise. Pardon the vocabulary, but Vlasov had to fart, even if it meant bluffing right. Small leg-breaking attack, and a fatal 1 km from the summit. Vlasov left. When we wake up, the 2 Slovenians of course, but we don’t do the same trick. We passed the pass 1 minute ahead of the Bora cyclist.

Another problem, you have to descend 25 kilometers to the finish. There is no way to waste a second. We played the general, the 2 Slovenians on stage. We can only brush up enough to wait for a small relay of his 2 lazy people, we only have a tempo set, on the verge of breaking. So it’s no wonder we’re smoking the Foix sprint. But a minute of recovery for Vlasov is not a luxury. Especially since we now understand that it is takeable.

Life is sometimes played out in seconds

So, as far as you can tell, we are focused like never before. We closed the bedroom door and put in airplane mode for this Saint-Gaudens – Peyragudes stage. That’s good, it ends in an altiport. Altiport where a view of Tomorrow never dies. As many will tell you we are also in an action film. And the first cliffhanger, is to see the Vlasov to be released more quickly than you can imagine: at the start of the ascent of the Col de Val Louron-Azet.

Not one or two, we can clearly see that a gap is made to make the little prince of Brittany David Gaudu roll like crazy. The armored force is still there, the goal here is to destroy the enemy’s hope. To make sure we are no longer even a speck on the horizon. And it works, the minutes pass. Good little problem, there is still an altiport to climb and the pain in the legs is good.

The seconds between us and him lengthen, minutes pass. Problem is, we release a lot of energy, but who cares. We are not playing here to win, we are in time trial mode. Which, in hindsight, may seem like a strange idea. The Yellow Jersey group let us take it easy on the last climb to explode (like everyone else) on the final acres. A unique failure of families that we invite you to live below.

The arrival is lactic. At PLS on the sides of the altiport, we heard in the distance Alexandre Pasteur starting the clock. On our side, we knock out the soda to recharge our batteries before waiting for the fatal outcome. And it will be amazing. Within 3 short seconds, we were on the podium. France is in sight.

But it goes without saying that resting on his laurels might be a bad idea. Hautacam awaits us the next day, and there will be a time trial on Saturday. As many will tell you, every new second gained becomes a victory.

And the exact opposite happens when climbing the Col de Spandelles. We suspect that Alexandr will try something. A nice sharp attack, so we told ourselves that we would kindly take Tadej’s tire to get back quickly without spending too much effort. What a rookie mistake. Add to that your dedicated editor makes his descendants like a Zakarine, we are a potato search between the Vlasov group and the yellow jersey group.

Can’t get the Russian, we have to resolve to send back the yellow and green jersey group.

Ah yes, Roglic is green. That is what we call the multiverse.

But the final climb will be epic. Let me tell you, we did it to Gladiator’s music to our ears.

Landa immediately pulled through an impulse from Pogacar, we returned to the Vlasov group. And now, coco, there is no question of giving him the chew. Pogacar fled on his own, Roglic took the train to return. The rhythm is so strong, we probably all know we’re going to crack at some point. The only goal is to do it after Vlasov.

2 kilometers from the finish, we thought it was the end. Only red energy is left. That courage. But it was precisely at this moment that Alexandr staggered, zigzagging. HE’S ON FIRE. There is no time to panic, we go to Landa’s wheel, we take the remaining energy gel and we walk with courage. Teeth gritted, we took 16 seconds from Vlasov at the top. A large capital and very little at the same time for tomorrow’s time trial.

The most important time test of a lifetime

The silence was dead before the departure. There is no question of trembling. No question once again taking 4th place. We screwed on the helmet harder than Roglic, and off we went.

A pretty flat CLM, in the end. In the headset, I was told to save for the end, so when I’m wide in front of the first intermediate we start to doubt. Are we putting too much? Can we experience a longing for families? Is the universe infinite? Thousands of questions run through your mind. A rather strange arrival, with several men in the middle of the road, including obviously a man with his Breton flag that I almost forgot to touch. I must have confused him with Gaudu. The end was disappointing, we had the rest of our legs. It remains to be known the result of Vlasov.

For 5 seconds. In 5 short seconds, it passed. Over 76 hours in the saddle and all played within 5 seconds. Laurent Fignon took revenge.

And who said that Fignon clearly said that the Champs-Élysées. And this year, no massive sprint, no. A breakaway made the sprinters chew with Luis Leon Sanchez winning over Simmons and Barguil. Because why?

A 3rd place was unexpected and deserved behind Pogacar and Roglic. Primoz who was in the green jersey (lol) and Esteban Chaves, who missed a real lap this year, ended up in the polka dot jersey.

And an equally strong team record. See you next year!

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