Slovenian driver Tadej Pogacar won the 2021 Tour de France one stage early.

Only finished eighth in stage 20 – the timed race from Libourne to Saint-Emilion – on July 17, but that was enough for Pogacar to maintain a safe distance from rivals before the final leg from Chatou to Champs-Elysees.

Pogacar was cheered by the audience on the 20th stage from Libourne to Saint-Emilion.Photo: EPA.

Pogacar was cheered by the audience on the 20th stage from Libourne to Saint-Emilion.Photo: EPA.

Last year, Pogacar broke a series of records when it was crowned the most prestigious cycling race in the world. He became the first Slovenian to achieve this honor, and at 22, the cyclist is also the youngest Tour de France champion since 1904.

Pogacar’s number one rival – Danish driver Jonas Vingegaard – finished third in stage 20. However, Vingegaard’s total achievement was still five minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Pogacar. The winner of stage 20 was Vingegaard’s teammate in Jumbo-Visma – Wout van Aert with a time of 35 minutes 53 seconds.

“I narrow down a bit of time against him. Maybe that gives a little bit of confidence in the future because it proves he can be beaten,” Vingegaard said.

Pogacar’s dominance at the 2021 Tour de France is reflected in his victory in three of the four categories including the Yellow Shirt for the total achievement, the Red Shirt for the climbing king and the White Shirt for the best young driver. Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz of the Ineos Grenadiers team are the only two drivers to have more time in about 10 minutes than Pogacar.

Pogacar’s victory also contributed to the mistakes of rivals – the Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers racing teams, and the two early leading drivers Primoz Roglic and Geraint Thomas. Pogacar started wearing the Yellow Vest after stage five, the first timed leg, and has been completely in control ever since.

“This win was even more amazing because last year, I didn’t think I won. Last year, I was satisfied with second place until a series of emotional events happened in the timed race. This year, I really enjoyed the feeling of being a leader. It was really different,” Pogacar said.

Pogacar will wear the final Yellow Vest at the Champs-Elysees after stage 21 ends on July 18. After the Tour de France, Pogacar will travel to Japan to prepare for the road cycling competition at the 2021 Olympics.

Vinh San (according to the Guardian)

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