The battle for the overall victory seemed already decided before the time trial on the penultimate day of the Tour de France, but on a sensational Saturday in the Vosges, Tadej Pogacar broke the yellow dream of Jumbo-Visma and Primoz Roglic into a thousand pieces.
A look back at one of the most special Tour days in recent history.
Tom Dumoulin and Wout van Aert are standing rigidly next to each other, looking at the big screen at the top of La Planche des Belles Filles.
The riders of Jumbo-Visma see the last hectometers of Pogacar on the final climb of the time trial and already know what the catastrophic consequences will be for their leader Roglic, but for the time being one emotion dominates: disbelief.
Or rather: bewilderment.
For three weeks Jumbo-Visma reigned supreme in the Tour de France and on its way to complete a plan launched years ago with a glorious lap of honor over the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Roglic, the untouchable classification leader for eleven days, would give the Dutch formation its first Tour victory, nobody really doubted that.
"No, I was not nervous about Primoz's position for the time trial", Dumoulin admits.
"We definitely expected a 57 second lead to be enough with Primoz's time trial qualities. But Pogacar was on a different level today than we are, that's the reality."
An unleashed Pogacar rides the 36.2 kilometers in 55 minutes and 55 seconds, making him no less than 1 minute and 56 seconds faster than Roglic.
The yellow jersey wearer, with his new helmet tilted on his head, is the last to cross the finish line, after which he, disillusioned, pushes his bike aside and sits on the asphalt.
Dumoulin and Van Aert put a hand on Roglic's head, but they also know that there is no consolation for a while.
"At that time there was not much to say," said Dumoulin.
"We are all very disappointed. Disappointments are part of cycling, we are trained to be able to handle them well. But this is a very hard blow."
Tour day 21: Were Jumbo-Visma tactics disastrous for Roglic's overall victory?
Pogacar: 'Securing wild second place'
Two days earlier, it was Roglic who laid a hand on Pogacar's shoulder just after the Montée du plateau des Glières.
The leader of UAE Team Emirates could not have found a crack in the bastion of Roglic and Jumbo-Visma on the last climb of the last mountain stage of the Tour, after which the gesture of the yellow jersey towards his fellow countryman and friend was clear: the battle is over. fought.
"The race did indeed seem over at that time," said Pogacar on Saturday in a former spinning mill in Ronchamp, with his first yellow jersey tight around his shoulders.
"It was just a matter of surviving the time trial. I was thinking about securing second place, actually since I lost 17 seconds on Primoz on the Col de la Loze on Wednesday."
In the run-up to the time trial in the Vosges, the yellow barely plays through Pogacar's thoughts.
A second place in his first Tour, just before his 22nd birthday, would already feel like a great success for him.
"But then I had a very good day today. I don't know what to say next, I still can't believe I'm in yellow here now."
At La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogacar could no longer hear the split times that were passed on through his radio due to the screams of the fans.
So he was not aware that he already virtually took the lead in the rankings at the start of the climb, and that he then only extended his lead.
"I only knew that I had won the Tour when I saw Roglic's time at the finish," said Pogacar, who was already congratulated by his disappointed countryman during his first interview.
"Primoz was the best rider on this Tour. He and his team did a fantastic job. I have so much respect for Primoz and I know how disappointed he must be. But this is part of racing. We are all trying to win, even from friends. "
Roglic congratulates Pogacar after a sensational time trial in Tour
Roglic: 'I can hardly think clearly now'
More than an hour and a half after his finish, after waiting in a car for ten minutes for the end of the Pogacar press conference, Roglic climbs on a podium for his most annoying performance of this Tour.
"I didn't have a good day and Tadej deserves the victory", says Roglic, wearing a gray Jumbo-Visma sweatshirt, to the room full of journalists.
"Of course I am disappointed, but I can be proud of my second place. And I am certainly proud of my team, of the show that we gave away in the past three weeks."
Outwardly as calm as ever, last year's Vuelta winner answers the many questions, although he almost acknowledges that the blow has hit hard.
"I can cry, I already did," says Roglic.
"I wish today's results were different, but it is what it is. I can't change anything now."
Roglic thinks it is still much too early for an extensive evaluation of three successful weeks and one very painful day.
"At the moment it is difficult to think clearly. The past months have been very intense, so I want to take some rest first. Then we will think about how things should proceed now."
See also: Pogacar exponent of new cycling: 'Young riders want to participate now'