LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France—As far as Tadej Pogacar was concerned, his hopes of taking the Tour de France had died days ago, somewhere on a French mountainside. Sure, he said, he could dream of taking the leader’s yellow jersey here, on the last day of meaningful racing, “but we live in the real world.”

As it turns out, that’s the world where Pogacar is now set to win the Tour.

With…

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