Copy of 2023-07-18T154658Z_1898103039_UP1EJ7I17U8LN_RTRMADP_3_CYCLING-FRANCE-1689699778561
Team Jumbo–Visma's Jonas Vingegaard wearing the yellow jersey in action during stage 16 as spectators cheer on. Image Credit: Reuters

Comblux, France: Jonas Vingegaard soared to a crushing triumph on stage 16 of the Tour de France on Tuesday, winning the 22.4km time trial by 1min 38sec from Tadej Pogacar, who was second.

Jumbo Visma rider Vingegaard attacked from start to finish with a win that extended his overall lead in the Tour de France to 1min 48sec over Team UAE rider Pogacar.

Vingegaard went down the start ramp two minute after Pogacar. The Dane said his heart leapt when he saw his rival's team car ahead of him.

"They (my team) never told me the time gaps, but in the end I could see his car," he said. "I was really relieved when I saw it, because that told me everything."

The 2020 and 2021 champion Pogacar was far from slow and almost caught Ineos rookie Carlos Rodriguez, who started the day third.

"I'm hugely proud of what I achieved today," the defending champion said. "But the Tour de France is not finished yet, we have to fight all the way to Paris."

Overall leader

Vingegaard leads the overall standings by 1min 48sec from Pogacar. Adam Yates, who rose to third, is a massive 8min 52sec off the leader.

Vingegaard has employed largely defensive tactics against Pogacar, who seems unable to resist his impulses when presented with a chance.

Vingegaard, a former fish factory worker, has insisted throughout his campaign that the Tour would not be won by a few seconds taken here and there.

"I knew straight away I was on a great day," Vingegaard said. "This stage was a major part of what we planned, but not just this one."

The margin was a surprise. Ahead of the start of the stage most riders tipped Pogacar to win.

"It's today you win the Tour! Come on! Come on! Come on," Vingegaard's team shouted to him over their radio as times showed the Dane was crushing Pogacar along the way.

'This isn't finished'

Pogacar at times appeared as white as the jersey he was wearing. He also fumbled his bike change from the aerodynamic time-trial model to a lighter climbing one at the foot of the steep Cote de Dormancy towards the end of the ride.

"There was nothing I could have done more. This isn't finished but he took a lot of time," Pogacar said at the finish line.

The Slovenian was blown away by Vingegaard yet was far stronger than anyone else, finishing 1min 13sec ahead of the third-place rider, Wout van Aert, who described himself as "the best of the ordinary riders" after the race.

The duelling pair of leaders were separated by just 10 seconds at the start of the day, and the enlarged margin appears decisive, but Wednesday's Queen stage tackles four huge mountains.

So far on this 110th edition of the Tour, the pair have traded tit-for-tat hits with the struggle finely balanced as the peloton climbed through the Alps.

Vingegaard fired first, taking a 53 second lead over the Team UAE rider in the Pyrenees, but Pogacar hit back three times to reduce the deficit.

Over the weekend's two stages in the Alps, Vingegaard stopped the rot even scraping a second back himself.

The 26-year-old has been in the leader's yellow jersey since stage six, but this was his first stage win.

Stage 16 was the only time trial on this Tour, which was the chief reason Vuelta a Espana champion, the Belgian youngster Remco Evenepoel decided to skip this edition.

Wednesday's stage from Saint Gervais Mont Blanc to Courchevel features both a 20km ascent of the Cormet de Roselend mountain pass and a 28km ascent of the Col de Loze to 2,304m altitude.