Tadej Pogacar seals Tour de France glory and celebrates in Paris while Irishman Sam Bennett wins stage 21
Tadej Pogacar became the first Slovenian to win the Tour de France after retaining the yellow jersey on Sunday in the 21st stage, a day after staging a major coup to take the overall lead.
While Sam Bennett won the last leg, the day was Team UAE Emirates rider Pogacar, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday and is the youngest man to win the race since Henri Cornet in 1904.
Pogacar, who claimed the yellow jersey of a baffled Primoz Roglic with a monumental performance in Saturday’s time trial, also won the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider and the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification.
Tadej Pogacar has won the Tour de France and is celebrating in Paris after surviving stage 21
The 21-year-old rode a sensational Tour and became the second youngest ever winner
Irish champion Sam Bennet won the stage with a dominant sprint and sealed the green jersey
Roglic finished in second place, 59 seconds behind, while Australian Richie Porte took third place, 3:30 below the pace.
‘This is an incredible feeling to be on the podium here in Paris. It was a fantastic three weeks, an incredible journey, ” said Pogacar after the first one-two for one country since Bradley Wiggins finished ahead of fellow countryman Chris Froome in 2012.
‘I want to thank everyone who made it possible. It has been three memorable weeks on the French roads, with incredible crowds. I will not find words to express my feelings. ‘
Pogacar closed with fellow countryman Primoz Roglic, who dramatically lost the lead the day before
The sensation also provided the white and polka-dot jerseys, while Bennett took green
The team from Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates is leaving the race after outperforming in France
The winner receives his congratulations early on from world champion Mads Pedersen
Pogacar also won three stages in one of the most brilliant individual performances in recent Tour history, leaving Roglic’s dominant Jumbo-Visma team wondering what went wrong.
“We didn’t see it coming,” said Roglic’s teammate and former Tour runner-up Tom Dumoulin.
Bennett became the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win the green jersey for the points standings, ahead of Peter Sagan who sought it for a record extension of the eighth time.
Bennett was the strongest at the end of Mantes-la Jolie’s 122km stage on Sunday, beating world champion Mads Pedersen and Sagan coming home third.
The riders took a beautiful route up the processional staircase, past the pyramid of the Louvre
After 23 days on the Tour, the riders were relieved to take an easy run-up to the final stage
There were no breakaways that got a lot of lead, as the sprinter teams prepared for a gallop
Swiss Marc Hirschi, the former under-23 world champion, was voted the most aggressive of the race after notably taking a stunning victory in the longest stage of the 107th edition.
Ineos-Grenadiers had a Tour to forget as defending champion Egan Bernal dropped out of the fight in the Jura stage to the Grand Colombier and retired a few days later with back problems.
They got some pride back, though, as Michal Kwiatkowski, their five-year unsung hero, claimed an emotional stage victory – although that was certainly not enough for a team that had won seven of the previous eight editions.
Belgian superpower Gren van Avermaet tired, with Briton Connor Swift (third)
Pogacar’s victory will go down in history because of the way he stole the lead at the last second
On the last podium, Roglic and Richie Porte from Australia joined the youngster in the top three
It was an anti-climatic final on the Champs-Elysees, because as a precaution against the corona virus, only 5,000 fans were allowed to enter the famous Avenue.
France reported 13,498 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours on Saturday, setting a new record in daily additional infections since the start of the epidemic.
Reaching the Champs-Elysees, however, was a relief for the organizers, who had imposed strict hygiene rules to protect the race’s ‘bubble’.
The bubble did not burst as only four team members tested positive and were removed from the race, preventing a spread that could have stopped the Tour.
No rider tested positive.