At the end of his triumph, Matej Mohoric tapped his jersey demonstratively and provocatively put his index finger on his lips. Less than 40 hours after the nightly doping raid on his team Bahrain-Victorious, the Slovenian champion celebrated his second solo stage victory in the Tour de France in Libourne and wanted to rebuke all critics with his cheers.
“I am disappointed with the system. It’s not nice when the police are standing in your room and rummaging through your things. They even look at their private things, read the news on their mobile phones, ”said the winner of the day after the 207 kilometers from Mourenx to Libourne on Friday.
On Thursday night, the public prosecutor’s office in Marseille in Pau searched the hotel rooms of the Arab cycling team on suspicion of doping until two in the morning.
Nothing was found that would have corroborated the suspicion, which is why the team was allowed to continue. At Bahrain-Victorious you saw yourself treated unfairly and victim of your own success. “I felt like a criminal,” complained the winner. The pictures from the Pyrenees went through his head again in the last 1000 meters, when his victory was already certain. “You haven’t found anything with us. We have nothing to hide. ”
Despite all the turbulence, the winner was beaming, the Slovenian Festival with him and Tadej Pogacar (yellow jersey and three daily victories) are going on happily. On the other hand, it is “a good thing to be careful and controlled so that no one can cheat,” commented Mohoric about the raid.
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Record hunter Mark Cavendish, who has not yet achieved the magical 35th day’s victory, and the German birthday child André Greipel missed out on the 19th stage, they crossed the finish line with the main peloton that had fallen back by 20 minutes. In the breakaway group, four Germans fought for victory in Nils Politt (5th), Georg Zimmermann (8th), Maximilian Walscheid (12th) and Jonas Rutsch (15th).
“King Cav”, who had caught up with cycling legend Eddy Merckx during the course of this tour, did not get a fifth chance in a mass final, which he had previously won. The five-time overall winner Merckx had already put it into perspective: “You can’t compare it. I drove 2800 km in the wind alone, Cavendish six seconds. ”
Greipel so far without a podium
Before the start of the 19th stage, however, the two had hugged each other warmly. Greipel, who has been 39 years old since Friday, also has to wait until the 21st and last stage. He has not yet achieved a podium on the current tour.
On Friday the hour of the runaway struck. After days of torture in the Pyrenees, this time it was Mohoric who prevailed with a courageous attack from the group. Christophe Laporte from France and the Dane Casper Pedersen came in second and third.
The tour is also characterized by withdrawals in favor of the Olympics. After the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, Miguel Angel Lopez and Michael Woods now also left the race. The Colombian and the Canadian want to regenerate before the trip to Japan and saw no point in doing two flat stages and a time trial.
Pogacar continues with a big lead
Yellow carrier Pogacar, who is going into the time trial on Saturday with a big lead, will definitely go through to Paris. If nothing happens to the strong Slovenian on the weekend of the finals, he will, as in 2020, not only win the winner’s jersey, but also the white jersey of the best young professional and the dotted jersey of the best climber.
The fight against the clock is only about who can accompany Pogacar on Sunday in the center of Paris on the podium.
On the final stretch to Paris, it should again be largely about the record hunt of veteran Cavendish. If the Briton wins on the legendary Champs-Élysées, he not only owns the green jersey of the best sprinter, but also the stage record of the tour with 35 daily victories, which Belgium legend Eddy Merckx held with 34 victories for several decades. The last chance awaits Germany’s veteran Greipel. (dpa)