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Pidcock picks Pogacar in ‘all-out war’ for Tour de France title

Ineos rider Tom Pidcock said Monday he fancies Tadej Pogacar’s chances in a titanic Tour de France title struggle he predicts could go to the wire in Paris in an “all-out war”.

Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard is currently atop the overall standings, with Team UAE’s Pogacar trailing by just 10 seconds in second place, with the Tour set to reach its climax on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.

“I think Tadej,” Pidcock said when asked for his favourite to claim victory.

“Jumbo seem a little bit anxious, worried, desperate, they are working too hard to make things happen,” the Olympic mountain bike champion told reporters at his team hotel at the foot of Mont Blanc.

“Im afraid that wasn’t too diplomatic of me… Last year it just came together for them and it’s not going exactly like that for them this year,” he said.

Pidcock said two gruelling mountain stages in the final week’s racing of cycling’s ultimate test could well prove to be decisive.

“On Wednesday we’ve got this Queen stage, it’s going to be pretty brutal,” he said of stage 17, which has 69km of climbing on the fourth and final Alpine stage.

“Even then you’ve still got stage 20,” he said of the final competitive stage in the Vosges mountains.

“That risks being all-out war, doesn’t it, depending on how things stand at that point.

“There are so many different races going on within the race, the GC (overall title), the polka dot (climb points), people trying to get into the top 10, everyone’s got their own agenda, its not just about Jumbo and UAE,” he said.

Of his own role for the remainder of the Tour, Pidcock said he was resigned to helping his teammate Carlos Rodriguez, who sits third overall, despite his lack of experience as a so-called “domestique”.

The Tour “is great when it’s all going well. But when it’s not, it’s hard”, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman said.

“I’m suffering a bit, let’s get this time trial out of the way.”

Pidcock added: “Before I had the freedom to explore my own abilities but now I’ve fallen off the GC, well…

“I’m not the most experienced at pacing other people up climb and going getting bottles of water for them and stuff, but I’ll do my best,” he said.

The 22-year-old Rodriguez said he was totally focused on the battle for third spot.

“I don’t really know, or care that much, who my rival for third place is, whether that’s Adam Yates, Jai Hindley or Simon Yates,” the  Spaniard said.

“Tadej and Jonas are on a different level, then there’s this other fight for third place,” he said.

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