After the Pyrenees, one thing is clear: the 110th Tour de France will be a thrilling duel between defending champion Jonas Vingegaard and two-time champion Tadej Pogacar. The arguments for overall victory are very different for the duo.

That speaks for Jonas Vingegaard

The engine: Vingegaard’s great strength is long climbs. He also proved that on this tour at the Tourmalet, when Pogacar had to fight to the limit to stay on the rear wheel. In the Alps, the Col de la Loze is another extremely long mountain, on which he could spend several minutes on Pogacar, like last year.

The team: Team Jumbo-Visma is significantly stronger than Pogacar’s UAE team. This was already evident in the Pyrenees. Sepp Kuss would be the captain in almost any other team, Wout van Aert is the Swiss army knife among the pros and can make decisions on the flat and in the mountains.

The route: It’s the toughest tour in more than a decade. More than 55,000 meters in altitude have to be mastered, the Pyrenees were just a foretaste. The track should suit lightweight Vingegaard more than Pogacar. “The first few days were already really tough. It will be a very exciting tour this year,” said the 26-year-old.

That speaks for Tadej Pogacar

The form curve: Pogacar came to the Tour due to his scaphoid fracture with a training backlog and without racing toughness. His plan from the start was to improve during the tour. Apparently that works. “The form is getting better every day. It will be a fight to the end,” said the 24-year-old.

The will: “I was never dead,” emphasized Pogacar after his stage win. Because of his weakness the day before, many had already written him off. But 24 hours later, the Slovenian proved he’s a true champion, pushing himself to the limit and hitting back.

The instinct: Pogacar is a racer. With his explosiveness, he sprints for every second, no matter how hopeless it may seem. He doesn’t allow himself to be slowed down by tactical constraints, preferring to anticipate racing situations. “This is cycling. You can have plan A, B and C and in the end everything turns out very differently,” said Pogacar.