Pogacar snatched the yellow jersey in a dramatic time trial on the eve of the arrival in Paris last year. He became the first rider to win two consecutive time trials on the Tour on Wednesday since Bradley Wiggins in 2012.
Van der Poel fought hard in the finals and put in his best time trial ever to retain the coveted yellow jersey, crossing the line exhausted with his mouth wide open.
“I surprised myself today,” said Van der Poel, who rides for the Alpecin-Fenix team. “I’m really proud of this performance. When I said I was going to lose the jersey today, it wasn’t a lie, it’s not my specialty.”
Pogacar was 19 seconds faster than time trial specialist Stefan Kung. Jonas Vingegaard was third, 27 seconds behind.
In total, Pogacar is eight seconds behind Van der Poel.
Roglic, who was Pogacar’s main rival last year, said he was proud of his performance after his heavy crash two days earlier.
“It’s hard, that’s for sure. All time trials are always very painful, let’s put it that way, ”Roglic said. “But I just lacked a little potency. I really squeezed everything out on my own.”
Thomas was also recovering from an accident and said he did his best.
“Obviously I didn’t feel 100% but I don’t want to stress it, I tried to do what I could and it wasn’t really enough,” he said. “I woke up this morning and felt bad, but once I left and relaxed it got better. It’s just one of those things you have to figure out and deal with – keep fighting, I guess. “