Contador: Stage 11 will tell us if Pogacar has a true rival

Contador: Stage 11 will tell us if Pogacar has a true rival
Rob Hemingway

Alberto Contador is expecting Stage 11 of the Tour de France to reveal whether any of the GC riders in the pack can challenge Tadej Pogacar.

Pogacar has been close to his best in the opening part of the Tour, winning two stages, grabbing hold of the yellow jersey and generally looking at ease on all types of terrain.

But with stifling heat forecast and some brutally steep mountain stages to come – including Wednesday’s trip up to the 2413m Serre-Chevalier – the circumstances may just make life difficult for the hitherto imperious Slovenian.

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Speaking to Eurosport, Contador said: “This alpine leg of the Tour is where the race is going to be made, and we’ll see whether anyone can rival Pogacar.

“I don’t think the first stage [10] up to Megeve is going to be too important.

“I think the riders will be thinking about the two stages after that.

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“As for stage 11, everything changes at that point.

“It’s quite a short stage, and it’s where we’ll see whether Pogacar has a true rival at this Tour.

“The Col du Granon is extremely hard, and depending on how slow or fast the riders go up the previous climbs – the Telegraphe and the Galibier – that could make it even harder.

“Those last few kilometres at 9 per cent – that’s when we’ll see if anyone can challenge Pogacar.

“I think it’s a more important stage than Stage 12 up the famous Alpe D’Huez.

“In view of what might have happened the day before, maybe teams like Jumbo-Visma will try and move riders up, like Primoz Roglic, and in so doing put pressure on Pogacar.”

The race is taking in four alpine stages this year, with a series of Pyrenean mountain stages in the third week.

Pogacar takes a 39-second lead into Tuesday’s stage 10, which comes after the race’s second rest day on Monday.

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