Analysis: Tour de France far from settled as Pogačar revives his challenge

ALPE D'HUEZ, FRANCE - JULY 14: (L-R) Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen of Denmark and Team Jumbo - Visma Yellow Leader Jersey and Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates white best young jersey compete during the 109th Tour de France 2022, Stage 12 a 165,1km stage from Briançon to L'Alpe d'Huez 1471m / #TDF2022 / #WorldTour / on July 14, 2022 in Alpe d'Huez, France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) looks back at race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) during final section of l'Alpe d'Huez climb (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

After Wednesday's shock defeat of overwhelming favourite Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) on the Col de Granon by new race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), the Tour de France GC battle on Alpe d'Huez on Thursday could essentially have gone one of two ways.

Either Pogačar's first, colossal setback in a Tour de France since he won the Tour in 2020 could have been followed by an even bigger time loss on Thursday, with the implicit recognition of Vingegaard as the most likely winner-in-waiting of the 2022 race. Or, on the Alpe d'Huez, Pogačar could start to fight back, start the process of showing that he was still in the game, and in the process all but guarantee he will make life difficult for Vingegaard for as much of the second part of the Tour as he possibly can.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.