Tour de France: Van Aert claims time trial glory as Pogacar heads to Paris in yellow

By Sports Desk July 17, 2021

Tadej Pogacar was unable to secure a time trial victory on stage 20 of the Tour de France but will complete the formality of back-to-back general classification triumphs in Paris on Sunday.

On last year's penultimate stage, Pogacar overhauled a 57 second deficit to fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic to snatch the Yellow Jersey, completing one of the most staggering turnarounds in the history of the race.

Such drama was never on the cards on the 31 kilometre route to Saint Emilion, given UAE Team Emirates' Pogacar boasted a lead in excess of five minutes, which Jonas Vingegaard trimmed slightly but not significantly as the race heads to its ceremonial conclusion in the French capital.

As such, he never had to pursue the stage win and its associated undue risk, with victory going to Wout van Aert in a time of 35 minutes and 53 seconds.

The Belgian rider has enjoyed a superb Tour and this was his second stage win – a sharply contrasting success to him twice conquering Mont Ventoux on a historic stage 11.

“It is quite something, winning a Tour de France time trial has been one of the biggest objectives in my career," Van Aert told ITV. "I've been really focused on this day in the last couple of days and I'm so happy that I can finish it off. The course was perfect for me."

Van Aert's Jumbo-Visma team-mate Vingegaard came in third, consolidating second place in the general classification standings, while fellow Dane Kasper Asgreen was runner-up on the day, 21 seconds in arrears.

Pogacar rolled in 57 seconds shy of Van Aert's mark in eighth, having long made this year's Yellow Jersey his own.

STAGE RESULT

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 35:53
2. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +0:21
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:32
4. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +:0:38
5. Nils Politt (EF Education-Nippo) +0:44

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 79:40:09
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:20
3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +7:03

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 304
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 269
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) 216

King of the Mountains

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 107
2. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 88
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 82

What's next?

Alongside Pogacar's coronation in Paris, much of the focus will be on whether Mark Cavendish can sprint to glory on the Champs Elysees and go clear of the great Eddy Merckx with a 35th stage win of his career.

Related items

  • Valverde to retire after 2022 season Valverde to retire after 2022 season

    Alejandro Valverde has confirmed he will retire at the end of the 2022 season and hopes to contest at least one more grand tour on home soil in the Vuelta a Espana.

    Next year will be the veteran rider's 21st campaign in professional cycling and he sees no need to continue further despite still feeling able to compete.

    Valverde, who ruled out competing at next year's Tour de France, will remain in a coaching role with the Movistar team after his retirement, given his contract will still have two years to run.

    The 41-year-old won the Vuelta in 2009 and has achieved a further six podium finishes at the prestigious event.

    Valverde has also finished third in the Tour de France and come third in the Giro d'Italia in the only time he competed in the Italian stage race in 2016, as well as being crowned world road champion in 2018.

    The Spaniard returned from a two-year suspension due to the Operacion Puerto investigation in 2012, having had all of his 2010 results annulled after a lengthy legal battle.

    "I say with total conviction, 100 per cent, that 2022 is going to be my last year," Valverde told Sports Radiogaceta.

    "Even though my level is good at 42, it makes no sense to extend longer after 21 years in the business. What more do I want? My time has come.

    "I want to enjoy my last season as a pro. I don't have my season sketched out yet, but a start at the Tour de France is already excluded.

    "I hope to race the Vuelta next year, and we will study the Giro route too, and then there is the Classics and all the races on the Spanish calendar.

    "When I retire I have a contract for two more years in the Movistar team. I will try to help the team as much as I can, especially by coaching young riders, which is something I like a lot."

  • Pogacar: Tour de France 2022 a 'complete' course Pogacar: Tour de France 2022 a 'complete' course

    Tadej Pogacar has described the Tour de France 2022 route as "a complete course" as the two-time champion looks to claim a third title in a row.

    The new route for the 109th edition of the Tour was revealed in Paris on Thursday and totals 53 kilometres, including two individual time trials and five mountain-top finishes.

    Pogacar, speaking at the route's unveiling in the French capital, said he was "excited" at the prospect of the course. 

    "It's pretty great. It's a complete course," the 23-year-old Slovenian said. "From the first stage to the last stage, we have everything: sprints, echelons, cobbles, big climbs, small climbs, time trials. 

    "I'm really looking forward to it. I'll do some recons because it will be necessary after we saw what's on the plan. I'm pretty excited."

    Pogacar joined an exclusive club of cyclists last week by claiming victory at the Giro di Lombardia, having retained his Tour de France title in July, to become the first rider in 42 years to win both competitions in the same season.

    Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault are among the illustrious names to have previously achieved the feat.

  • Pogacar seals rare Tour de France-Giro di Lombardia double Pogacar seals rare Tour de France-Giro di Lombardia double

    Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar matched a feat achieved by three of cycling's greatest competitors as he triumphed at the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday.

    Pogacar cruised to a title defence at Le Tour in July and the 23-year-old clinched his second Classic crown of the season with success in the final Monument race of the year.

    The Slovenian, making his Giro di Lombardia debut, is the first rider in 42 years to have won both the Tour de France and Giro di Lombardia in the same season.

    He joins an illustrious list of riders to have done the double – Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

    UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar finished ahead of Fausto Masnada in the final sprint at the culmination of the 239km race from Como to Bergamo, with Adam Yates taking third place.

    Pogacar previously won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in April.

    "I'm speechless, it's crazy to be here to celebrate this success at the end of a season like this," he said.

    "Every victory is important to me, being at the start of Lombardia alongside the best cyclists in the world was a dream, and now winning on my debut was incredible."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.