Defending champion romps to Tour de France win

1 year ago 185

Tadej Pogacar took the yellowish jersey to Paris to triumph his 2nd consecutive Tour de France connected Sunday aft a grueling three-week odyssey that astatine times helium made look similar a recreational ride.

Pogacar's repetition occurrence astatine cycling's biggest lawsuit was a communicative of full dominance, prompting 1 question: At property 22, however galore much Tours tin the Slovenian win?

Pogacar won his archetypal rubric past September erstwhile helium became the Tour's youngest champion successful 116 years. He is present the youngest treble victor of the race.

In crisp opposition to past twelvemonth — erstwhile arsenic a rookie helium had to hold until the penultimate signifier to prehend the wide pb — Pogacar has been untouchable successful this race.

His squad was amended equipped and amended prepared, and Pogacar assumed the favorite's mantle with the easiness of a seasoned veteran. His supremacy was specified that, successful summation to his wide win, helium besides claimed the King of the Mountains and champion young rider jerseys.

Champion Tadej Pogacar celebrates the decorativeness of the Tour de France. (Getty)

The UAE Team Emirates person successfully defended his immense pb of 5 minutes, 20 seconds implicit second-place Jonas Vingegaard successful the mostly ceremonial last signifier to the Champs-Elysees connected Sunday. Richard Carapaz finished 3rd overall, 7:03 disconnected the pace.

Vingegaard and Carapaz were the lone riders to decorativeness wrong 10 minutes of the two-time champion. Australia's Ben O'Connor finished fourth.

"I did my best, maximum, similar I ever do, and that was enough," Pogacar said.

Wout van Aert won the 21st signifier successful a wide sprint. That prevented Mark Cavendish from beating Belgian large Eddy Merckx's grounds of 34 signifier wins which the British sprinter equaled earlier successful the race.

The mostly level 108km limb began successful Chatou conscionable extracurricular Paris and concluded with 8 laps up and down the famed avenue.

Pogacar and his teammates rode unneurotic astatine the beforehand of the battalion arsenic they reached the Champs-Elysees, and the Slovenia champion raised his fist successful the aerial successful celebration.

Tadej Pogacar during the last signifier of the Tour de France. (Getty)

Pogacar's motion acted arsenic a awesome for those warring for a prestigious signifier triumph arsenic the archetypal accelerations took place. But the attackers' efforts did not wage disconnected and the signifier ended successful a wide sprint.

Cavendish, who consoled himself with the champion sprinter's greenish jersey, banged his handlebar successful vexation aft van Aert edged Jasper Philipsen to the line. Cavendish was third.

Van Aert, a 26-year-old versatile Belgian with exceptional skills connected each terrains, became the archetypal rival since 1979 to triumph a sprint, a upland signifier and an idiosyncratic clip proceedings successful the aforesaid variation of the Tour.

As for Pogacar, the lone ace successful his armour came successful the Mont Ventoux signifier successful the 2nd week, erstwhile helium was concisely dropped by Vingegaard during the 2nd ascent of the iconic mountain. But Pogacar showed calm and composure that time to drawback his rival and remained unscathed.

Apart from that scare, Pogacar's thrust was flawless and merciless.

Following his stunning show successful the archetypal clip trial, helium was successful a people of his ain successful the Alps and seized the contention pb with a vintage long-distance onslaught successful atrocious weather. He past wrapped up the demolition enactment successful the Pyrenees with 2 prestigious signifier wins to go lone the 4th rider successful Tour past to triumph consecutive acme finishes astatine cycling's biggest race.

Even Merckx, the five-time Tour champion wide regarded arsenic the greatest-ever winner, was impressed.

"I spot successful him the caller 'Cannibal'," said Merckx, who earned that nickname for his ruthless volition to win. "He tin surely triumph the Tour de France much than 5 times."

Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogacar and Richard Carapaz observe astatine last podium successful Paris. (Getty Images,)

Pogacar has won praise for his attacking mentality and his ambition to present successful each types of races. This season, helium linked up his archetypal Tour triumph with victories astatine the UAE Tour, Tirenno-Adriatico and the prestigious one-day classical Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

But arsenic ever astatine the Tour de France erstwhile a rival outclasses the field, Pogacar's ascendant thrust besides raised suspicions. He was asked this week astir UAE Team Emirates wide manager Mauro Gianetti's ties with riders who received doping suspensions successful the past.

Gianetti was antecedently the manager of Saunier Duval, the squad of Riccardo Ricco, an Italian rider who tested affirmative for the blood-boosting cause CERA successful 2008. He was besides manager of the Geox-TMX outfit of Juan Jose Cobo, who was stripped of his 2011 Spanish Vuelta rubric for doping violations.

"I tin lone talk for myself," Pogacar said. "When I met Mauro, helium was truly large to me, and helium is simply a ace bully person. I judge what is successful the past is successful the past, and this caller cycling is simply a mode much beauteous athletics than before."

Pogacar has insisted that the repeated doping controls helium underwent should beryllium capable to person doubters that helium is riding clean.

"I deliberation we person galore controls to beryllium them wrong," Pogacar said during the race's archetypal remainder day.

Wout Van Aert and Mark Cavendish deed the Tour de France decorativeness line. (Getty)

Pogacar's dominance was helped by the misfortunes of 2 of his biggest rivals, past year's runner-up Primoz Roglic and erstwhile Tour champion Geraint Thomas, who tumbled during the crash-marred archetypal week of racing and ne'er recovered.

More importantly, 2019 champion Egan Bernal skipped the Tour this twelvemonth aft his Giro triumph successful May. The Colombian climber is conscionable 24, has fantabulous clip proceedings abilities and should beryllium Pogacar's main rival successful the years to come.

Meanwhile, Pogacar volition alert to the Tokyo Olympics wherever helium volition beryllium among the favorites for the golden medal successful the roadworthy race.

"Anyone who tin travel Tadej volition beryllium adjacent to victory," said van Aert.


1. Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia, UAE Team Emirates, 82h 56m 36s.

2. Jonas Vingegaard, Denmark, Jumbo-Visma, 5m 20s behind.

3. Richard Carapaz, Ecuador, Ineos Grenadiers, 7m 3s behind.

4. Ben O'Connor, Australia, AG2R Citroën Team, 10m 2s behind.

5. Wilco Kelderman, Netherlands, Bora-Hansgrohe, 10m 13s behind.

6. Enric Mas, Spain, Movistar, 11m 43s behind.

7. Alexey Lutsenko, Kazakhstan, Astana-Premier Tech, 12m 23s behind.

8. Guillaume Martin, France, Cofidis, 15m 33s behind.

9. Pello Bilbao, Spain, Bahrain Victorious, 16m 4s behind.

10. Rigoberto Uran, Colombia, EF Education-Nippo, 18m 34s behind.

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