Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard managed to fend off race leader Tadej Pogacar to clinch the victory in the 11th stage of the Tour de France. Vingegaard caught up with the Slovenian after he initiated a break over 30 kilometers from the finish on Wednesday. The 211km route from Evaux les Bains to Le Lioran marks the longest stage of this year's Tour. Despite the anticipated early breaks, the race ultimately came down to the main contenders, with the top four overall finishing first. For Vingegaard, who hadn't raced for three months due to a collapsed lung and fractured rib, this victory was particularly significant.

"It's of course very emotional for me," Vingegaard stated. "Coming back from the crash, it means a lot and all the things I went through in the last three months it makes you think of that and I would never have been able to do this without my family." UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, a two-time Tour champion, still managed to extend his overall lead to one minute six seconds over Remco Evenepoel, who finished third in the stage, with Denmark's Vingegaard trailing by an additional eight seconds in the general classification.

A group of 10 riders managed to break away for significant portions of the race, but Pogacar's UAE Emirates teammates controlled the front of the peloton and prevented a substantial gap from forming. Irishman Ben Healy was the last to resist before being overtaken by the chasing pack with one kilometer left to the top of Pas de Peyrol, the stage's most challenging climb, and Pogacar made his move near the summit. Pogacar increased his lead on the descent, but Vingegaard demonstrated his resilience and left Roglic behind to pursue the leader, catching him just before the top of the next climb with less than 15km to the finish.

The final descent to the finish was a narrow ride, and Vingegaard seized the lead on the home straight in a game of cat and mouse. When they finally began sprinting, he just managed to edge out Pogacar at the line. "I couldn't follow the attack he had, it was a very, very strong attack, I just had to fight and actually I didn't think that I would be able to make it back," Vingegaard recounted. "But I just kept fighting and I made it back and started relaying with him. A bit surprised I could beat him in the sprint."

Primoz Roglic finished fourth after a crash near the finish, but as it occurred within the final three kilometers, he only lost 25 seconds to the leaders, the same as Evenepoel, rather than 55. Pogacar and his team had executed everything perfectly, positioning him for the break, and he must have believed this would be a day when he distanced himself even further from his rivals, but Vingegaard had other plans. "It means so much to me. I'm so happy about the victory today, I would never have thought this three months ago," Vingegaard concluded.