Tour de France: Pogacar 'super happy' as Slovenian ace celebrates in Paris

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Tadej Pogacar said he felt "super happy" after putting the finishing touches to a second successive Tour de France triumph.

The 22-year-old Slovenian had led the general classification from stage eight, and 15 days down the road in Paris he wrapped up a supremely impressive performance.

As well as the top prize, Pogacar also collected the king of the mountain and young rider honours, and it is hard to imagine there not being abundant further success to come over the next decade.

Pogacar spoke on the podium after his win, saying: "Last year I should have written a speech for my first Tour de France victory but I didn't know how to write it.

"So also this year I said, 'OK, I'm going to speak from the heart and say what I have to say'.

"Thank you everybody that came here to support us cyclists through all the three weeks. To the French public and all fans of cycling from the whole world, it is so fantastic racing on the amazing parcours of the Tour this year."

He thanked his team, UAE Team Emirates, for helping him achieve the goals they set out to reach.

"I cannot describe how happy I am to be part of this family, it melts my heart," Pogacar said.

"They were with me every day of the whole year preparing for the Tour. I'm super happy and proud to be part of this team on this journey.

"I'm not going to cry. Thank you everybody. It was a difficult year with COVID and I really hope next year we come here without the masks.

"Of course I cannot forget my family, standing beside me, and my girlfriend and my friends. I hope I've told enough but I'm super happy. Thank you everybody."

Pogacar said it was "time for celebration".

"I will remain motivated in the coming years, but what come next will come next… I’m not stressed about it," Pogacar said, quoted on the Tour's official website.

"It's quite different. Last year, I felt strong, incredible emotions. This year I'm again here, standing atop the podium, but the feelings are quite different."

 

Tour great Eddy Merckx won the general classification five times from 1969 to 1974, and had such a ruthlessness he was nicknamed 'The Cannibal'.

Pogacar does not want to be compared to legends of the sport, insisting he should be allowed to plot his own career path.

"The new Cannibal? I don't like to compare myself to other riders," he said. "Each rider has his own style and personality. Every rider is unique. I don't think there is anything left. I just enjoy life, I work hard, I love cycling – and those are the most important things."

Pogacar did not quite secure a sweep of the Tour honours, with the green jersey – the points classification that rewards the best sprinters – going to 36-year-old Deceuninck-QuickStep star Mark Cavendish.

Cavendish's four stage victories took him level with the record of 34 that Merckx had owned exclusively for over 40 years.

"Ten years later, again with the green jersey, it's fantastic, it feels like getting younger," Cavendish said. "I'm back. It's a dream."

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    Primoz Roglic secured his third successive Vuelta a Espana title with an imperious performance in Sunday's time trial finale.

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    And the Slovenian finished things off in style as he became only the fourth rider in history to win the Vuelta on three separate occasions.

    Roglic also succeeded in matching Roberto Heras' feat of three consecutive triumphs (set between 2003 and 2005).

    He did so by crossing the line in 44 minutes and two seconds, claiming his fourth stage win of this year's Vuelta, which was bookended by Roglic victories, the Olympic time trial champion have started this year's race with a triumph on stage one.

    The Jumbo-Visma rider surpassed Magnus Cort's previous best time by 14 seconds, with Thymen Arensman 52 seconds off the pace in third.

    It meant his final winning margin over Spain's Enric Mas (Movistar) was a massive four minutes and 42 seconds, with Australia's Jack Haig third for Bahrain Victorious.

    As if to hammer home his superiority, Roglic overtook Mas on the final turn before crossing the line, providing an exclamation point as he underlined his status as one of the finest Grand Tour racers on the planet and a clear favourite to challenge for yet more glory next season.

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    Primoz Roglic would need an almighty slip up to fail to win the Vuelta a Espana, though Saturday's penultimate stage belonged to Clement Champoussin.

    A monster, 202.2-kilometre route culminated in a summit finish on Mos. Castro de Herville, with 23-year-old Champoussin attacking with 1500m remaining to take the first stage win of his professional career.

    The Frenchman crossed the line six seconds ahead of Roglic, who had led a chasing pack that caught breakaway leader Ryan Gibbons with around 4km left.

    Roglic's second-place finish, two seconds ahead of nearest general classification rival Enric Mas of Movistar, should surely see the Jumbo-Visma rider claim La Roja for a third successive year.

    It could all change in Sunday's time trial, but having won gold in such an event at the Tokyo Olympics, Roglic will know a third Vuelta crown is within his grasp.

    Should he hold onto his GC lead, which stands at 2:38, Roglic will become only the fourth rider in history to win the Vuelta on three separate occasions, while he will also match Roberto Heras' feat of three consecutive triumphs (set between 2003 and 2005).

    Stage 20 belonged to Champoussin, however. After Roglic, Mas, Adam Yates and Jack Haig had caught Gibbons, the AG2R Citroen rider lodged a surprise offensive, catching the quintet cold.

    For a moment, with Roglic gaining ground, it looked as though Champoussin - who only turned pro last year - may have gone too soon, but he held on to claim a maiden grand tour stage success.

    Behind Roglic, Adam Yates of INEOS Grenadiers just edged out Mas to secure a top-three finish. A dismal day for Miguel Angel Lopez saw him abandon the race with 20km remaining after he failed to keep pace with the general classification group.

    STAGE RESULT

    1. Clement Champoussin (AG2R Citroen) 05:21:50
    2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:06
    3. Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +0:08

    CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

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    1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 83:11:27
    2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:38
    3. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +4:48

    Points Classification

    1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
    2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 179
    3. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 145

    King of the Mountains

    1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 80
    2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 61
    3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 51

    What's next?

    Sunday's final stage is a 33.8km time trial from Padron to Santiago de Compostela. A consistent climb is followed by downhill, technical sections and a flat straight to the line. 

     

  • Vuelta a Espana: Roglic maintains overall lead as Cort celebrates 'dream' third stage win Vuelta a Espana: Roglic maintains overall lead as Cort celebrates 'dream' third stage win

    Primoz Roglic heads into the final weekend of the Vuelta a Espana with a third successive title within touching distance, while Magnus Cort won stage 19 on Friday.

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    Saturday's mountain stage could still cause problems, while Roglic has been hurt by time trials in grand tours before – the 2020 Tour de France was settled in Tadej Pogacar's favour in such a manner – but the Slovenian looks well placed to make it three Vuelta wins in a row.

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    1. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 04:24:54
    2. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) same time
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    2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:30
    3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +2:53

    Points Classification

    1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 250
    2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 162
    3. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 144

    King of the Mountains

    1. Michael Storer (Team DSM) 59
    2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 54
    3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 48

    What's next?

    Saturday's route is a monster. A 202.2km stage from Sanxenxo to Mos. Castro de Herville takes in five short but difficult climbs after a relatively flat start.

     

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