Pogacar wins his second Tour de France
We arrived at the ride in Paris with everything crystal clear. Pogacar was going to win his second Tour de France, the second in a row, he was going to become history in this sport and in this event and, best of all, what lies ahead of him promises to be a cyclist for a long time. He is going to be the rival to beat in the coming years. The Slovenian also won the white jersey for best young rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountains champion, but as he couldn't fit them all, he lent the latter two during the Parisian transit.
A Tour with a clear winner: Tadej Pogacar
In the other areas, it is also worth mentioning Cavendish's green. Tremendous Tour de France 2021 for the British rider, who hadn't won the green since 2011. A poker of stages for him and an undeniable feeling of superiority in the sprints.
In addition to this evidence, this Tour leaves another sensation: a change of generation. There is a new generation of riders under 25 years old, including the first two riders, who are coming on strong. We will have to keep an eye on all these new names in the peloton.
As for today's stage, it was very calm. In fact, the averages went down to 30 kilometres per hour, when we've spent three weeks above 40 and 45 kilometres per hour. However, strange things always happen: we saw Carapaz call the doctor for a nosebleed. Maybe the heat, maybe the effort, maybe some silly blow. Nothing important for the Ecuadorian, who was about to complete his list of podiums in the three Grand Tours, Vuelta, Giro and Tour.
The first part of the race was literally a walk. If we tried to write more than three lines about the first half of today's stage, we'd be lying. Small glimpses of attacks and a pace, as we say, at half speed. Pogacar allowed himself to dramatise his victory, signing jerseys and waving to the camera. There was a nice detail: they wore Roglic's bib number 11, to have a detail with his compatriot. A nice gesture.
Sprint finish and closing of the 2021 Tour de France
The first breakaway was made by Bissegger, Pedersen and Sweeny, a breakaway that was joined by Konrad five minutes later. Pedersen got off the boat early, he didn't have the desire or the legs to take the unsuccessful beating on the last day. And he was right, because the rest, the remaining trio, never exceeded a lead of 30 seconds and, after about 15 kilometres, they gave up altogether. With 30 kilometres to go, they were all together again and Cavendish was rubbing his hands together, but the plan was not going to work.
The second attempt came from Schelling, Valgren and Van Moer. It was the same: 20 seconds after the first break, but the lead was still under 30 seconds with 15 kilometres to go, which suggested an easy catch by the peloton. Cavendish was still sharpening his fangs as they had a tailwind for most of the circuit in Paris, so the peloton was unconcerned. Van Aert was playing his cards right.
With 10 kilometres to go, the peloton began to work together to close the breakaway and look for the sprint finish. Those who collaborated at the head of the multicoloured snake were the teams that had sprinters who were candidates for the stage victory. Mainly Deceunick Quick Step.
In just 3 kilometres they caught all those who had taken the lead. It cost them very little, as we predicted: at the penultimate crossing of the finish line of this circular circuit, they were already less than 10 seconds behind. The bell sounded to announce the last lap, but it seemed to announce that the escapees had been caught. Ineos and Nils Politt tried to attack, but so close to the finish line nobody was going to allow it.
With the peloton now definitely launched, we reached the last kilometre. The sprint was spectacular: Cavendish had the legs but was badly placed. When he wanted to attack, it was too late because Van Aert was 50 metres from the finish line and would not let him get inside. The Belgian won his third stage of this Tour. What a complete cyclist is this Wout Van Aert. With this victory he closed a great Tour in a Jumbo without leader but that has won a lot and has made a second place with Vingegaard.
The podium was finally formed by Pogacar, Vingegaard and Carapaz.
- Van Aert, W. - Jumbo Visma | 2:39:37
- Philipsen, J. - Alpecin Fenix | m.t.
- Cavendish, M. - Deceuninck Quick Step | m.t.
- Pogacar, T. - UAE | 82:56:36
- Vingegaard, J. - Jumbo Visma | +5:20
- Carapaz, R. - Ineos Grenadiers | +7:03