Mas predicts tight podium battle

05 July 2021 23:22:52 GMTPlus10

Enric Mas is preparing himself for a real battle to make the podium at the Tour de France over the next fortnight.

Mas, 4500/1 to win the Tour de France, currently sits sixth on the general classification, five minutes and 47 seconds behind reigning champion Tadej Pogacar (1/1000).

Now there's going to be a big fight to be on the podium, because a lot of us are all at the same time.

Enric Mas

UAE Team Emirates' Pogacar blew the race open with Saturday's thrilling solo ride, which saw him take the yellow jersey and he sits two minutes and a second ahead of AG2R Citroen's Ben O'Connor.

O'Connor breathed new life into the race with his fabulous win to Tignes on Sunday and sits second on GC, with EF Education-Nippo's Rigoberto Uran more than three minutes behind in third.

With this the Australian's first Grande Boucle, his rivals will be looking to exploit any hints of vulnerability and there are plenty of contenders to reach the podium, with less than a minute separating Uran and eighth-placed Alexey Lutsenko of Astana-Premier Tech.

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Mas finished fifth last year and, with Marc Soler dropping out ahead of stage two and last year's sixth Miguel Angel Lopez losing time throughout the first week, the Majorcan rider is now Movistar's undoubted leader.

The 26-year-old has previously finished on the podium in a grand tour, coming home second at the Vuelta a Espana in 2018 and acknowledges that every second will count in the battle to make the podium in Paris.

"We know where we are," he said. "We know that any rider can have a bad day after they've not rested properly or something. I've seen that happen, too.

"Now there's going to be a big fight to be on the podium, because a lot of us are all at the same time, roughly at about a minute or so. For the spectators, it'll be a nice battle."

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