Less than 24 hours lasted for Richard Carapaz (EF Procycling) as leader of the Tour de France. A voracious monster named Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) exploded in watts in the Galibier and with the stage victory in Valloire regained the lead of a “Grand Bouclé” that after its Italian tour made its entrance in France with the Slovenian saying present, here I am, with a double that meant a first and strong blow to the morale of all his rivals.

From Pinerolo it was announced a battle to the death in the Alpine giant and the warning of war was taken very seriously by UAE Team Emirates that made a “Team Sky” in the second most visited pass of the race after the Tourmalet.

The UAE Team Emirates, which put a Dream Team at the start in Florence with riders already proven in the podiums of the big three as: Joao Almeida, Juan Ayuso and Adam Yates, was a hurricane in the final kilometers of the Galibier leaving victims of all pedigree as the Ecuadorian leader Richard Carapaz, Primoz Roglic, Remco Evenepoel, Jonas Vingegaard, Carlos Rodriguez and Egan Bernal.

The legs of the Slovenian and two-time Tour champion (2020 and 2021) were two real machine-gun blasts that in the last ramps of the Galibier launched projectiles left and right, bullets that none of those called to fight for the overall could dodge, not even the defending champion, still battered by the accident in the Basque Country, Jonas Vingegaard.

The latter above all, the two-time Danish champion who has the face of an altar boy but the character of a Dexter-like cold-blooded killer, appeared on the horizon as the only possible balm for the fury of the Slovenian who just over a month ago in Rome lifted the sensafine trophy of a Giro in which he was unchallenged.

And on those same Italian roads that “Poggy” flattened in May led him today to cross the Alps to already in French territory execute one of his usual numbers to regain a yellow jersey that still had its measures after wearing it in Bologna.

On the same pass where Marco Pantani wrote his legend in the 1998 Tour after smashing Julich, Jalabert and his fiercest rival, Ulrich, to pieces in a rainstorm, wind and cold, giving up 8: 57 at the finish line in front of the immortal pirate, Pogacar takes the Tour lead with 45 seconds ahead of Evenepoel and 50 seconds over Vingegaard who, after wriggling like a madman trying not to lose the Slovenian’s wheel, finally had to sink to his knees before the Slovenian’s onslaught.

The now smiling and good vibes, Primoz Roglic, is fifth to more than a minute with few arguments against his compatriot who left him with a gypsy curse in the Tour after that time trial to the Planche des Belles Filles. But before in the fourth position and close to the podium appears a Juan Ayuso who aims to be confirmed in this Tour as the expected relay for Spanish cycling of the Contador-Valverde generation, but subject to the orders of his team and his team leader, the same situation as Joao Almeida who today was another golden card for Poggi and the Emirati squad proving that his podiums in the Giro d’Italia have not been a product of fortune.

Carlos Rodriguez and Mikel Landa (we can hear the celebration of Landismo around the world) are sixth and seventh with podium hopes still intact after resisting in Vingegaard’s group, but from there they will have to row against the current if they want to aspire to something more. More than three minutes behind is the ever-performing Ciccone and our Tour and Giro champion, Egan Bernal, who closes the Top 10.

The “Young Wonder” held on as long as he could, but in the end he paid dearly for the almost superhuman efforts that anyone who dares to follow Pogacar’s wheel must make, although we insist, less than two years ago in a hospital in the Bogotá savannah Egan was fighting for his life and to walk again, his recovery, documented for this Tour by the Eurosport channel, should be more than an object of study and European documentaries, an example for anyone who is thinking of giving up in any aspect of life.

It’s only four days in and already the Tour shows a very polished overall in the men who aspire to the podium. Although if the race has stood out for something throughout its more than one hundred years of history is for causing more than one surprise and a drama because three weeks are very long and we are not even in the middle of the first one (emoji of hands on the face and open mouth).

This Wednesday and Thursday there will be a lull with opportunities for sprinters and stage chasers, awaiting Friday’s time trial where the duel for the overall is expected to return, a duel that seems already closed to the Pogacar-Evenpoel-Vingegaard triumvirate, although just as two thousand years ago in the Rome of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, a swashbuckling confraternity may be brewing with Roglic, Rodriguez, Landa, Ciccone and Bernal sharpening their daggers, as there is a long Tour ahead and that is well known to all.

Source: Sergio Urrego, Special Envoy of Mundo Ciclístico Magazine in Valloire, France.