, Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard – GETTY IMAGES / EPA
Van Aertat the 2021 Tour de France
Pogacar all but sealsTour title
Vingegaard is second in location to fill the runners-up spot
Carapaz to become first Ecuadorian to make the podium
When in future years they look back on the 2021 Tour de France, it will be the story of a race that began thrillingly, with an extraordinary first week featuringrebirth, and a woman who took out half the peloton with a cardboard sign and then went into hiding.
But one ultimately ended with Tadej Pogacar bludgeoning his rivals into submission, claiming his second successive Tour de France title by over five minutes. Saturday’s penultimate daytime trial was a long, long way from the dramatic 11th-hour trial at the same race stage ten months ago when Pogacar blindsided his compatrioton La Planche des Belles Filles.
Then there was a feeling of shock and awe that a 21-year-old could have done such a thing.victory was a rout. There was zero suspense on Saturday. The setting was glorious – the vineyards outside Saint-Emilion resplendent in the summer sunshine – but the crowds might as well have been sleeping off a bottle or two of Grand Cru for all the action they got. Only two riders will finish within 10 minutes of Pogacar ( Emirates) when the race rolls into Paris this afternoon.
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo Visma), who will finish at 5:20, and Richard Carapaz (), who spends at 7:03. The Slovenian could probably have extended his advantage had he so wished. He won the first of the race in Laval. , he chose to pick his way carefully through the vines, finishing eighth fastest, almost a minute slower than stage winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Undoubtedly Pogacar is an exceptional rider. Probably a generational talent. Eddy Merckx predicted on Friday that he would ultimatelythan the five he won. Yet, it is still too early to call this the Age of Pogacar. Context is everything, and while he may have won this race at a canter, circumstances to see Pogacar up against his rivals at their best.
We do not yet know how a fully fit and firing(Ineos Grenadiers) would get on against the boy prince. We are left wondering how Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) might have fared this year had he not fallen on stage three, like (Ineos Grenadiers). And we still have the prospect of other young and exciting talents joining the party.
Pogacar himself appeared reluctant to talk up this win. Earlier this week, he dismissed any talk of a “Pogacar era” as “stupid”. Cycling’s stars are getting ever younger, and who is to say how Remco Evenepoel,, or Vingegaard himself could push on from here if he is given proper backing?
“For sure, a new generation is coming,” he said. “We see so many youngsters stepping up to the. I think it’s a nice era of cycling now and we will see a lot of battles between everybody. It’s going to be a great next decade.” In his winner’s press conference, he continued that theme, saying he did not consider himself the “boss” of the peloton in the same way as a Merckx or .
“I don’t like comparisons,” he said. “Because every rider is unique and has their personality. I don’t consider myself a boss. We are just here to do the . It’s very different compared this year. was less stressed about everything [because he did not lead the race until the final day]. is more difficult off the bike, but I think it’s more enjoyable. I can enjoy the moment more.”
After that frantic start, one of the besthistory, the race for yellow somewhat petered out by the end. A battle-weary peloton will ride into Paris before disappearing in different directions, some to , others for a much-needed lie down.
But not beforegoes for history this afternoon. Barring some fallout from the Bahrain-Victorious the other night or development in a report by Swiss newspaper Le Temps earlier this week, which raised the specter of mechanical doping at this race, with three separate riders at the Tour alleging that they heard noises they had never heard before coming from bikes involving four teams at the race, Cavendish’s bid for the win. No 35 will take center stage today.
Van Aert – one of those whading to Tokyo – was asked whether he was satisfied with his two, his other victory coming after the double ascent of Ventoux in the mid-week, or whether he needed a bunch sprint before he boarded his flight. He said he would do his best to defend his compatriot Merckx’s honor. “I’m still motivated for tomorrow,” he said. “Especially with the Elysees being so iconic. We’ll try for it.”
However, Cavendish will be the overwhelming favorite with a full Deceuninck-QuickStep lead-out. “I’m already thinking of tomorrow,” said the 36-year-old, who may be racing at the Tour for a. “I . As with every stage, many teams haven’t won yet and will battle for victory. It will normally come down to a sprint on the Champs Elysees. I will try to win this bike race.”
Pogacar all but seals the Tour de France
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) has finished his time trial in eighth place, 57.35sec down on stage winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). At the same time, he also lost 25sec on Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), who was third behind Kasper As green (Deceuninck-Quick Step). However, having taken a 5min 45sec lead into Saturday’s stage, that maillot Jaune should stay on the shoulders of theto the Champs-Élysées. Some time gaps may have stage 20, but not one rider in the general classification top 10 moved up or down.
Vingegaard impresses with third
Jonas Vingegaard sets the third-fastest time of the day to all but seals the runners-up spot at the Tour, while Richard Carapaz will become the first Ecuadorian to finish on the podium at therace. The Ineos Grenadiers rider has now finished in the top three d’Italia in 2019 and finishing as runner-up at last year’s shortened Vuelta an España.
O’Connor all but seals fourth
Ben O’Connor finished 2min 40.91sec down on Wout van Aert, but more crucially for the Ag2r-Citroën rider, he did not lose that fourthon general classification to Dutchman Wilco Kelderman.
Vingegaard is flying
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) was the second quickest at the double-check, 21.50sec down on his teammate Wout van Aert. That’s an incredible performance from Vingegaard, who will finish his firstin the second spot while becoming the first Dane to take a podium spot since Bjarne Riis won the race in 1996.
Aussie O’Connor is in control.
Wilco Kelderman is just over 1sec faster thantime check. Unless O’Connor collapses or crashes in the , the Australian will keep hold of the fourth spot on general classification – they were separated by 32sec this morning.
Vingegaard is on course to seal second overall.
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), who wastrial, has set the third fastest time of the day, over 17sec quicker than Richard Carapaz, so that should seal his second place on the general classification – they started the day separated by just 6sec.
Pogacar is plodding toward the Tour title.
Tadej Pogacar, dressed in his yellow skinsuit, is riding a very conservative race today. He was eighth fastest at the first time check, 16.83sec slower than Wout van Aert at the same point.
All-rounder Van Aert takes the hot seat
Wout van Aert, who remember is targeting the time trial at this month’s Olympics, held ion in the finalto set a new fastest time, the Belgian going 21.19sec faster than Kasper As Green having completed the 30.8km course at a speed of 51.5km.
O’Connor is out on the course.
Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën), one of the revelations at this year’s Tour de France, has just started. Can the Aussie who signed to the French team lateon a one-year contract keep hold of his fourth place on general classification? Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) are to follow here today.
Wind assisted Van Aert on course to take the hot seat
Kasper As Green went fast on the final third of this course, while Stefan Küng lost his way. According to reports, there is a slight tailwind out on the final run-in to the line, which may help Wout van Aert gain another 15 or 20 seconds on As green.
Van Aert is on course for the top spot.
Wout van Aert is the fastest through the second time check-in Montagne; the Belgian has another 10.7km to go but is leading by 24.69sec. He looks very comfortable, pushing what looks like a vast gear – a big chainring on the front and the smallest cog on his rear cassette. He’s an absolute monster in the best.
The final countdown
David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is the second-to-last Frenchman to get his time trial underway. The young climber started the day 11th on the general classification and will not threaten the podium today. Next down the starting ramp will be the final ten riders, filling the top 10 berths in the general category. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech), Enric Mas (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) will each get their races started at two-minute intervals.
Paret-Peintre gets off
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Ag2r-Citroën), who started the day 15th on general classification, has rolled down the starting ramp, and the Frenchman, who has enjoyed a decent Tour de France debut, receives a warm welcome. A minute later, Wout van Aert flies through the first check, and the Belgian sets a new fastest time.
There he is, out on the course. That’s right, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), riding the time trial at this month’s Olympic Games, has rolled down the starting ramp. This man is possibly the most excellent all-rounder in world cycling right now; when not contesting , the Belgian is winning stages with two ascents of Mont Ventoux, but can he win a time trial at the Tour de France? Stick with us, and we will let you know around 35min.
Thomas’s Tour is almost done.
has completed his race, the Welshman finishing 3min 6.87sec down on Kasper As green. One suspects he will look forward to a day or two off after his challenging Tour before returning to action in the next weekend.
The Spanish armada
Jonathan Castroviejo, the five-time Spanish time trial champion again a monster in the mountains for Ineos Grenadiers, is out on the road, as are compatriots Ion Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech) and(Movistar).
Küng’s horror show
Television pictures have just shown a distraught-looking Stefan Küng sitting on the floor, and it is not easy to view. The Swiss did an incredible ride in the stage five-time trial only to be beaten by an otherworldly performance from Tadej Pogacar. He will have spent the last two weeks waiting for today’s race, but sadly for Küng, he didn’t have the legs when needed most. A very sharp end to his Tour.
(Deceuninck-Quick Step) rolls down the starting ramp, and, unsurprisingly, the Frenchman receives a massive welcome from the roadside spectators. Nobody expects the world today, but that will not stop him from putting on a show for his many fans. Shortly afterward, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) gets his race underway.
Team GB pair well off the pace
(Ineos Grenadiers), representing Great Britain in the time trial at the forthcoming Olympics, was 48.03sec down at the first check. Thomas’s trade and national teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart, who will also represent Team GB in ‘the , completed his race 4min 2.09sec down.
Küng’s crown slips in the final third.
A big shock this, and Stefan Küng, who flew out of the traps, is the second-fastest on the day, 16.81sec slower than Kasper As green.
Fuglsang’s last hurrah
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech), who has been relatively anonymous over the last three weeks, has got his race underway, while a few minutes back, Richie Porte () rolled down the ramp. The Aussie is a decent tester but may struggle after doing so much work in the mountains for Richard Carapaz.
Touch and go for Küng.
Stefan Küng was still the fastest at the second check, but the Swiss lost time. However, Kasper As Green gained around 15sec in the, and so if Küng did something similar, he could take his place in the hot seat with the fastest time of the day.
Küng the king?
Stefan Küng is flying. The Swiss were 10.11sec faster than Kasper As green at the first check, after just 7.6km. Will the Küng be crowned later this afternoon with his firstde France, which would be a huge personal achievement and may save his Groupama-FDJ team’s race?
As Green is the new leader.
Having set the fastest time at the two checks, Kasper As green dethroned Stefan Bissegger, having belted histhe course at an average speed of 51.003km, completing the 30.8km stage in 36min 14.53sec, which was a massive 23.40sec better than the Swiss.
Küng out on the road
Brandon McNulty is the third fastest but was 50.39sec slower than current leader Stefan Bissegger. Stefan Küng is on the course, but all eyes are on Kasper As Green for the next few minutes.
As green holding on . . .
The great Dane held a steady pace and was also fastest at the second check – 5.61sec quicker than Stefan Bissegger. Stefan Küng, meanwhile, is sat in the start house looking mainly focused before the European time trialgets his race underway.
Asgreen on the march . . .
Kasper As Green set the fastest time of the day at the first time check, almost 7sec faster than Stefan Bissegger – 6.58sec to be precise.
De Gendt’s last stand?
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), the Belgian rider who often performs well in the time trial, has completed his race but was some way off the pace – 38min 35.42sec, 1min 57.49sec down on Stefan Bissegger. Although he has not confirmed it, there has been some suggestion that this may be De Gendt’s final Tour.
Brandon McNulty has set theat the first-time check-in Pomerol while
Kasper As green (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the three-time Danish time trial champion, has just got his race underway, as has
Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers). Green is one of the favorites today, along with Stefan Bissegger, Wout van Aert, Stefan Küng, and Tadej Pogacar.
Froome is almost in Paris.
completed his race earlier in 41min 21.62sec, 4min 43.69sec slower than the time later set by Stefan Bissegger. Despite having never threatened to , the four-time winner will, one imagines, be happy that he is close to completing his first Grand Tour since his career-threatening crash in June 2019.
The next big thing?
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), the young American working over the last three weeks for Tadej Pogacar, has rolled down the starting ramp. McNulty produced some impressive rides earlier in the year and has been tipped by many as the next big thing in stage racing and will be keen on posting fast time.
Wright on time
Shortly before Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic), the former British road champion, got histhird-fastest time. One imagines the former VC Londres rider will be pretty chuffed with his 37min 49.12, faster than Chris Froome or Luke Durbridge could post.
The Wright stuff
Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), the youngest rider at this top spot. It decent looking ride, though, which will be a massive boost to the 22-year-old.race, has caught his minute-man Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) before setting the fifth-fastest time at the second check. The young Briton was 1min 4.85sec down on Stefan Bissegger and is unlikely to dethrone the Swiss from his
Swiss specialist Bissegger clocks off in style
Stefan Bissegger, the Swiss time trial specialist who suffered the misfortune of having to do his time trial during stage five in the rain, has set the fastest time of the day thus far. The neo-pro making his Tour de France debut clocked the quickest time at both checks, most notably at the fishing line.
Before setting a new fastest time, Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), the former under-23 world time trial champion, had taken the day to break the 50km mark – 50.286km, to be precise.. Bjerg, by the way, was the first rider of the
As it stands . . .
As it stands, 57 riders have completed their time trials for the day or are out on the course.
Riders who have finished: Tim Declercq, Cees Bol,, Michael Morkov, Mads Pedersen, Reto Hollenstein, Dries Devenyns, Rick Zabel, Chris Froome, Jelle Wallays, Jérémy Cabot, Sean Bennett, Julien Simon, Nils Eekhoff, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Marco Haller, André Greipel, Carlos Barbero, Omer Goldstein, Max Walscheid, Simon Clarke, Danny van Poppel, Boy van Poppel, Daniel Oss, Ide Schelling, Lukas Pöstlberger, Petr Vakoc, Mikkel Bjerg, Vegard Stake Laengen, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Christopher Juul-Jensen,
On the road: Casper Pedersen, Jasper Philipsen, Stefan Bissegger, Davide Ballerini, Kristian Sbaragli, Guillaume Boivin, Edward Theuns, Benoît Cosnefroy, Luke Durbridge, Luka Mezgec, Philippe Gilbert, Fred Wright, Jonas Rickaert, Carlos Verona, Marc Hirschi, Greg Van Avermaet, Iván García Cortina, Maxime Chevalier, Christophe Laporte, Pierre-Luc Périchon, Connor Swift, Jorge Arcas, Anthony Perez, Cyril Barthe, Bruno Armirail and Harry Sweeny. There are two-time checks. The first is in Pomerol after 7.6km, then another in Montagne after 20.1km, 10.7km from the finishing line.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 20 at the Tour de France, the 30.8km time trial from Libourne to Saint-Émilion. Two more sets of this year’s Tour de France remain, starting with this afternoon’s ‘race of truth’ through thevineyards around Saint-Émilion.
The final destination of the various jerseys will most likely not be determined by today’s time trial. However, that’s not to say the leading protagonists will be soft-pedaling their way around the relatively flat and non-technical course. For the penultimate time at this year’s Tour, here’s a quick reminder of who will be wearing what as a respective leader in each of the four main classifications – in other words, those that have jerseys.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) has the Maillot Jaune, the leader’s, for a 12th day running with an almost unassailable margin of 5min 45sec. Barring a spectacular collapse, the 22-year-old will take home a second successive maillot Jaune back to Slovenia after the race finishes in Paris on Sunday.
(Deceuninck-Quick Step) will be dressed in Green as the leader in the points classification.
After winning Thursday’s mountain-top stage on the hors catégorie Luz Ardiden, Pogacar wrested the maillot à pois, the polka dotmountain classification leader, off the shoulders of Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious). With just one more point available in that competition during Sunday’s final , all Pogacar needs to do to take home the maillot à pois is finish today and tomorrow’s stage within the respective time limits.
For anybody that missed Matej Mohoric’s second stage win at this year’s race on Friday, you can relive the highlights here . . . As an overall race leader, Pogacar tops the best young rider classification. However, as second best, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) will wear the Slovenian’s maillot blanc, the white jersey.
With just 240 meters in vertical elevation gained over the 30.8-kilometer course from Libourne to Saint-Émilion, it is a route that favors the classic time trial specialists. Thelooks good, so none of the riders should have to contend with wet roads as Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) did during the stage five time trial that was won by some distance Pogacar.
For Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), today represents a final hit-out before his assaults on the, where the Belgian is eyeing the time trial title, while other specialists such as Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Kasper As green (Deceuninck-Quick Step), and the Bissegger above will also be hoping to challenge.
As is traditional with time trials in stage races, riders will roll down the starting ramp inof their standing in the general classification. So lanterne rouge Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who starts the day in 142nd spot four hours 53min 15sec behind the Maillot Jaune, sets off first at 12.05 pm (BST). The last man to get his time trial underway will be race leader Pogacar, who sets off at 4.19 pmpm. The total running order can be found below.