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PLANCHER-LES-MINES, France (VN) – Tadej Pogačar owed plenty to his UAE Team Emirates teammate Rafal Majka, who set a ferocious pace on the final climb up to La Super Blanche des Belles Filles on stage 7.
He also added a bit of theatre, gesturing with his hand as he swung off the front with 900 meters to go, as if to say “at your service, go on and take it.”
The Slovenian obliged with his second stage win. But he was overheard at the finish telling his teammate: “You left me too soon,” with Pogačar showing the tight margin with his hands.
Pogačar a Majka: "Me dejaste demasiado pronto". El polaco se excusa y acto seguido se disculpa. "Al final hemos ganado, ¿no?". Sí, pero "por esto", explica con las manos Pogačar. https://t.co/9D7oOgnsPp
— Cuadernos del Ventoux (@CdelVentoux) July 8, 2022
“I made a little bit of a mistake,” Majka said at the finish. “I didn’t know about the left turn. Before I knew it, I thought the finish is there, but we still got 200 steep [meters] to go.
Wink when you’re winning
32-year-old Majka is no stranger to jaunty gestures on the bike. He winking ostentatiously for the camera during a 2014 Tour de France stage win on Pla D’Adet and tugged playfully at a passing motorcycle antenna.
The misjudgement didn’t matter. “I’m so happy Tadej won,” Majka said. “Maybe nobody will say now ‘UAE is not coming.’
“Today on the climb, we showed we’re a strong team. George [Bennett}, Brandon [McNulty], all the guys, perfect working today and we can celebrate a victory. And more champagne!”
Is it possible to beat Tadej Pogačar in this form? “With cycling, you never know anything. But I hope not.”