Tadej Pogacar was poised to win a second consecutive Tour de France title because the Slovenian retained his total lead following the ultimate time trial, a 30.8-kilometre solo effort from Libourne on Saturday.
The 22-year-old UAE Emirates rider completed eighth within the 20th stage gained by Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who clocked a greatest time of 35 minutes 53 seconds.
Danes Kasper Asgreen and Jonas Vingegaard have been second and third, respectively within the 20th stage, 21 and 32 seconds off the tempo.
Total, Pogacar leads Vingegaard by 5 minutes 20 seconds and Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz by 7:03 forward of Sunday’s last stage, a largely processional experience from Chatou to the Champs Elysees in Paris.
“I am actually completely satisfied that it is over. It has been a extremely heavy, demanding three weeks. We rode exhausting from morning to nighttime, day by day. Yesterday [Friday] I wasn’t very motivated, you find yourself shedding motivation after three weeks,” Pogacar, who took no dangers by way of the Bordeaux vineyards in the course of the time trial, informed reporters.
“I stated to myself in the present day [Saturday]: “Come on, let’s go for it! However effectively, it wasn’t my quickest day on a motorbike after which the strongest rider gained. I’m nonetheless very pleased with my outcome and the way in which my day went.”
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The UAE Emirates rider bettered his rivals within the opening time trial and within the mountain phases, claiming a complete of three stage wins in a dominant efficiency.
It got here in sharp distinction with final yr, when Pogacar snatched the general lead within the last time trial solely as his fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic cracked within the uphill drag to La Planche des Belles Filles.
This time, Pogacar was the favourite and he duly delivered, though he benefited from his major rival’s failure with Roglic pulling out forward of the eighth stage following a crash earlier within the race.
Crashes additionally successfully dominated 2018 champion Geraint Thomas out alongside along with his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart, the 2020 Giro d’Italia winner.
Similar to final yr, Pogacar is about to win the white jersey for the very best Underneath-25 rider and likewise the polka-dot jersey for the mountain classification.
Pogacar will grow to be the youngest double winner of the race.
Following the Slovenian’s gorgeous experience to Le Grand Bornand throughout stage eight, his challengers have been left racing for second place.
That day, he went solo within the rain within the Col de Romme, the penultimate climb of the day, to drag away from all of his rivals in a long-range transfer paying homage to racing within the 1980s to take the yellow jersey.
Vingegaard stated: “I waited for Primoz [Roglic] when he crashed [in stage three] however I solely misplaced one minute 20, and I might nonetheless have been second.
“Pogacar was so sturdy we could not do something. He gained the Tour within the rain phases. I might have been one minute nearer, however it could not have made a distinction.”
Pogacar then elevated his benefit steadily and was in hassle solely as soon as on the slopes of an overheated Mont Ventoux when he was briefly distanced by Vingegaard.
Using with the composure of a veteran, Pogacar misplaced no time that day and he beat Vingegaard and Carapaz within the two summit finishes within the Pyrenees.
Briton Mark Cavendish, who equalled Eddy Merckx’s document of 34 stage wins, is about to wrap up the inexperienced jersey for the factors classification for the second time in his profession after 2011.
Fellow dash specialist Andre Greipel of Germany stated earlier than the stage he would retire on the finish of the yr after successful 11 phases on the Tour between 2011 and 2016.