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BINCHE, Belgium (VN) — Matteo Jorgenson earned his paycheck Wednesday when he helped tow Movistar captain Enric Mas back to the front group in the frenetic moments over the cobblestones at the Tour de France.
Mas was caught up behind a crash in the tipping point of the stage deep into the cobbles, and the Spanish podium contender was in danger of getting gapped and risking to lose minutes when Jorgenson and Portuguese rouleur Nelson Oliveira stepped up.
“It was a very important day that we got through well and it was super successful,” Jorgenson told VeloNews. “For him, that’s probably one of the most dangerous days.”
Mas finished with the favorites Thursday and enters Friday’s climbing stage in 12th overall at 1:12 back.
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Tour rookie Jorgenson played a key role in guiding featherweight Mas back to the GC group just as things were about to blow up.
“We were behind a little crash in the third sector in, and Enric got caught out in the front group,” he said. “Nelson and I rode for the next 10-15km to get back, and right when Roglic crashed, we made it back.
“Jumbo-Visma came from behind and we made it back no problem, so it was pretty successful.”
“We have super good morale,” said Jorgenson. “We have made it with less time loss than expected, and now the Tour starts with stages better suited for Mas.”
Tadej Pogačar so strong he doesn’t need teammates
Jorgenson is soaking up his first Tour de France with enthusiasm. He rocked up to the start Thursday with a red scarf around his neck in honor of the famed San Fermínes festival in Pamplona, Spain, home of the Spanish Movistar team.
What’s impressed him most so far is the strength of Tadej Pogačar.
Jorgenson said he’s been noticing that the two-time defending Tour champion has been floating around the front of the peloton all week without any of his teammates in sight.
“He’s just always riding alone in the wind,” Jorgenson said. “If you’re strong enough to do that, you can do that. I guess he’s lucky that he’s strong enough he can do that.”
Others have noticed how Pogačar is sometimes isolated without teammates in some of the key flat stages, but that can be because Pogačar is so strong and so good at staying at the front that he might not need his teammates now.
“A lot of times I see him alone, I see him alone on the side with the wind when most guys cannot do it,” he said. “He’s plenty strong to position himself alone without guys and he doesn’t have a lot of teammates. It’s not really an issue that he doesn’t have guys around him.”
No cow manure this time over Roubaix cobbles
In the days following the “autumn” edition of Paris-Roubaix in 2021, Jorgenson fell horribly ill.
The reason? Cow manure.
The American on Movistar said that he caught a terrible bacterial blood infection after racing in the wet and muddy cobbles in October 2021.
“I got a bacterial infection because it was raining so hard that day that it washed the cow poop into the route,” Jorgenson said. “I got so much cow manure in my mouth that day. I did a blood test and I actually had a bacteria in my blood that only cows have. I was out for a week.”
With dusty conditions Wednesday, Jorgenson wasn’t in trouble this time around.