By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Tadej Pogacar became the youngest rider toon Sunday after some vintage racing drew comparisons with cycling’s most excellent. The 22-year-old Slovenian, who won the Tour on his debut , hammered his rivals in the Alps with a long-range attack on stage eight, reminiscent of the event in the 1980s, and stayed in control for the rest of the race.
Pogacar finished Sunday’s 21st and final stage safe in the bunch as Belgian Wout van Aert prevailed in the sprint to beat compatriot Jasper Philipsen and Briton Mark Cavendish. They were second and third, respectively. HeJonas Vingegaard by a massive five minutes 20 seconds as Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz took third place, 7:03 off the pace as his Ineos Grenadiers team failed to spark once again after last year’s failure.
Pogacar watched from inside the bunch,as he crossed the line. “I see him as the new Cannibal,” said five-time , who earned that nickname due to his insatiable appetite for victory and won his first Tour in 1969 at 23.
“He is solid. I see him winning several editions of the Tour in the future. If nothing happens to him, he can certainly win the Tour de France more than five times.” While Pogacar says, he doesn’t like comparisons, the UAE Emirates rider threw caution to the wind when he attacked in the Col de Romme on the eighth stage, in a move similar to those ofwinner Bernard Hinault.
Pogacar won two mountain– a testament to his all-around qualities – with his only sign of weakness coming in week two on Mont Ventoux. He finishes the Tour with the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider in the race and the polka-dot jersey for the mountains classification, just like .
The green jersey went to Cavendish after the Briton took his tally of careerto a record-equalling 34, with four victories in this year’s race, although he was denied the 35th by Van Aert Sunday. It marked a spectacular comeback for the Manxman, returning to the Tour for the first time since 2018 after years of poor results and problems.
Cavendish was perfectly set up in the sprints by his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates as the Belgian outfit claimed five wins in thisedition. After losing the first mass sprint of the race, Cavendish was untouchable, avoiding the multiple and sent his potential main rival, Caleb Ewan, home after the third stage.
Those crashes also ended the hopes of last, who abandoned before the eighth stage. At the same time, the chances of Ineos Greanadiers’ co-leaders Geraint Thomas and were also ruined when they hit the deck early in the race.
A potential doping scandal marked the last days. Aan investigation into the Bahrain Victorious team after the outfit’s accommodation and vehicles were searched by police on Wednesday. said they were cooperating with the investigation.
This year, they won three, while Slovenian Matej Mohoric took two victories from the breakaway. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)