PEYRAGUDES, France — Tadej Pogacar claimed a third stage win as he sprinted away from Jonas Vingegaard in the punishing last climb of a grueling trek in the Pyrenees but failed to take significant time out of the Tour de France leader Wednesday.
Pogacar, the two-time defending champion, attacked in the brutal final kilometer up to Peyragudes to win Stage 17 stage but could not drop Vingegaard, who made another big step toward a maiden Tour de France win.
Vingegaard was runner-up last year behind Pogacar. The Danish rider has been impressive since the start in Copenhagen and once again showed no sign of weakness during Wednesday’s tough ride featuring four big climbs.
Vingegaard crossed the finish line just behind Pogacar, with Brandon McNulty completing the stage podium, 32 seconds behind the pair.
With the time bonus awarded to the stage winner, Pogacar moved four seconds closer to Vingegaard, who now has an overall lead of 2 minutes, 18 seconds in the general classification.
Since his bad day in the Alps when he relinquished the yellow jersey to Vingegaard, Pogacar has been on the attack but has not managed to make up for the time he lost to his rival.
Pogacar will have one last chance to unsettle the Jumbo-Visma team leader in the mountains during Thursday’s grueling final Pyrenean stage between Lourdes and Hautacam.
After that, his last occasion to turn the race upside down will be Saturday’s time trial. The peloton reaches Paris on Sunday.