Reigning champion Vingegaard tames Pogacar as Hindley takes stage and yellow jersey

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Reigning champion Vingegaard tames Pogacar as Hindley takes stage and yellow jersey

Updated
Jai Hindley won the Giro D'Italia in 2021
Jai Hindley won the Giro D'Italia in 2021Reuters
Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard (26) laid down an early marker on the Tour de France with a brutal attack that left his main rival Tadej Pogacar (24) gasping for air in the first mountain stage on Wednesday.

Denmark's Vingegaard accelerated some two kilometres from the top of the last climb, the lung-busting ascent to the Col de Marie Blanque (7.7km at 8.6%), to take one minute and four seconds off the twice Tour winner.

Australian Jai Hindley (27) won the fifth stage, a 162.7km ride from Pau, to take the yellow jersey with Vingegaard finishing fifth, crossing the line 34 seconds behind the 2022 Giro d'Italia champion.

Overall, Hindley leads second-placed Vingegaard by 47 seconds and sixth-placed Pogacar by one minute 40 seconds.

After shadowing Pogacar in the first two stages, Vingegaard stamped his authority in the steepest part of the Col de Marie Blanque.

"The plan was to have several guys in the breakaway. When they started to ride on the last climb, I felt I had good legs. I told Sepp Kuss to go to the front, he did and I decided to attack," said Vingegaard.

"We had talked about a (plan B), but we thought it would be a complicated one. Yes, I'm surprised he didn't follow me, I wanted to test him a bit. My legs were good. I'm really happy to have taken a minute off him. I don't know if I'm the favourite, but we're going to do our best until Paris."

Pogacar, whose preparations for the Tour were hampered after he suffered a fractured wrist in April, conceded there was not much he could do.

"He was just too fast on the climb. I tried to hold on until the top but he was really, really strong. What an attack," said Pogacar, who had grabbed a few bonus seconds in the first two stages but lost big on Wednesday.

"There's nothing you can do when someone is stronger than you like that."

HAMMER DOWN

The stage got off to a fast start and a group of 36 broke away before the Col du Soudet (15.2km at 7.2%) and Hindley, one of the podium contenders, managed to sneak into it with his Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Emanuel Buchmann (30).

It proved to be a smart move as the Australian is now in yellow and gained time on some of the other riders gunning for the podium in Paris with 2019 champion Egan Bernal (26), France's David Gaudu (26), Spain's Mikel Landa (33) and Britain's Tom Pidcock (23) all losing more than a minute.

"I was improvising out there and found myself in that group and I enjoyed it," said Tour debutant Hindley.

"It's really incredible and I've no words. The guys in the radio were screaming... I just wanted to get as much time as possible and get the win.

"I didn't really know what to expect it's my first tour it's hard to come here with such massive ambition (to win it) already but I wanna be competitive and have some form of success and yeah I just won a stage of the Tour de France."

Thursday's sixth stage is an another mountain ride over 144.9km between Tarbes and Cauterets featuring punishing climbs up the Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet, where Vingegaard could try to put the hammer down.

"Will Tadej seek revenge? We've seen how Vingegaard was today. You need to have the legs for that," Pogacar's UAE Emirates team manager Mauro Gianetti said.

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