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Vingegaard poised for 2023 Tour de France title tomorrow as Pogacar wins stage

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark is on the brink of clinching his second Tour de France title after successfully managing his main rival, two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogacar, in the final mountain ride of the race on Saturday. Pogacar won the 20th stage after a 133.5-kilometre ride from Belfort, securing his second win in this year’s race. Nevertheless, Vingegaard maintains a significant overall lead of seven minutes and 29 seconds over Pogacar.

Adam Yates from the United Arab Emirates team is in third place, trailing by 10:56. Giulio Ciccone of Italy secured the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification, and Belgian Jasper Philipsen is poised to win the green jersey for the points classification, as long as they both complete the race in Paris on Sunday.

Pogacar launched an attack on the last climb of the day, the Col du Platzerwazel, which was closely followed by Vingegaard and Austrian Felix Gall. This trio caught up with the French pair Thibaut Pinot and Warren Barguil, and Briton Tom Pidcock, and dropped them before battling for the stage win.

Pinot, a local favourite, delivered an electrifying performance on his last Tour, impressing a sea of supporters with his tenacious effort. Although he couldn’t secure the win, he finished seventh and plans to end his career after participating in the Giro di Lombardia, the Monument classic he won in 2018.

Despite his win, Pogacar was unable to close the significant gap Vingegaard had built in the Alps. Pogacar’s Tour de France hopes were impacted earlier this year when he suffered a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April and required surgery for a broken wrist.

Saturday’s stage from Belfort to the mountain resort of Le Markstein was the last major challenge for the riders, and it tested their endurance with 3,600 metres of climbing. Among the participants, young Spanish rider Carlos Rodriguez, American Sepp Kuss, and French rider David Gaudu had to cope with crashes during the race.

Despite the intense competition, Pinot was named the most combative rider of the day, while Italian cyclist Giulio Ciccone was crowned the Tour’s “King of the Mountains” at Col de la Schlucht.

With just one stage remaining, which ends on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Vingegaard is the clear favourite to claim his second Tour victory and just needs to finish tomorrow.