Tadej Pogacar has vowed to “give everything” and not “have any regrets” as he looks to overhaul Tour de France leader Jonas Vingegaard.
On a dramatic Stage 15 on Sunday, Danish rider Vingegaard held on to the yellow jersey despite suffering a heavy fall and losing the services of two Jumbo-Visma teammates in Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk through injury.
It meant UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar still trails Vingegaard by two minutes and 22 seconds but also gave the Slovenian renewed hope of making it three Tour titles in a row.
“I need to grab every chance, use every climb there is. I need to try to attack,” Pogacar told reporters during Monday's rest day. “I will give everything and I hope I don't have any regrets.
“There will be opportunities. We are all tired physically and mentally. But I'm going to try everything.”
Defending champion Pogacar was toppled on Stage 11 last week in a gruelling Alpine battle after coming under sustained fire from Vingegaard and his Jumbo-Visma teammates.
But Vingegaard sustained bruises on his left side after hitting the deck on Sunday, while Kruijswijk crashed out and Roglic retired from the race after failing to recover from a back injury.
It leaves Jumbo Visma down to six riders and with one of them, Tiesj Benoot, battered and bruised after also crashing on Sunday.
Tuesday's Stage 16 features two brutal category-one climb before Stages 17 and 18 take the peloton into some of the toughest climbs of the Pyrenees.
Stage 11 gallery: Vingegaard drops Pogacar
Vingegaard, though, insisted he felt good despite his crash. “I slept well. I'm a bit bruised but I'm good. It stings a little but I'm not hurting,” he said on Monday.
“I still have a two-minute and 22-second lead so we're good, even if losing two teammates is not a good thing.”
Former champion Geraint Thomas sits in third place – 2 min 43 sec behind Vingegaard and 21 seconds behind Pogacar.
“We are still in a good place,” said Ineos Grenadiers' 2018 Tour winner. "[But] they're going to be tough days for sure.
“I think Pogacar looks intent on attacking any moment. We are going to try to look at it as a three-day block, as everyone probably will.
“The hardest will probably be the last of those three days, and no matter how it looks after the second day on Wednesday, I think it can all change on the last day in the Pyrenees, because that's a super-hard day.
“It's certainly going to be difficult, there are two incredibly strong riders in front of me, not just one. But you've got to keep believing.”