On last year’s penultimate stage, Pogacar overhauled a 57 second deficit to fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic to snatch the Yellow Jersey, completing one of the most staggering turnarounds in the history of the race.
Such drama was never on the cards on the 31 kilometre route to Saint Emilion, given UAE Team Emirates’ Pogacar boasted a lead in excess of five minutes, which Jonas Vingegaard trimmed slightly but not significantly as the race heads to its ceremonial conclusion in the French capital.
As such, he never had to pursue the stage win and its associated undue risk, with victory going to Wout van Aert in a time of 35 minutes and 53 seconds.
The Belgian rider has enjoyed a superb Tour and this was his second stage win – a sharply contrasting success to him twice conquering Mont Ventoux on a historic stage 11.
“It is quite something, winning a Tour de France time trial has been one of the biggest objectives in my career,” Van Aert told ITV. “I’ve been really focused on this day in the last couple of days and I’m so happy that I can finish it off. The course was perfect for me.”
— Tour de France(@LeTour) July 17, 2021
Van Aert’s Jumbo-Visma team-mate Vingegaard came in third, consolidating second place in the general classification standings, while fellow Dane Kasper Asgreen was runner-up on the day, 21 seconds in arrears.
Pogacar rolled in 57 seconds shy of Van Aert’s mark in eighth, having long made this year’s Yellow Jersey his own.
1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 35:53 2. Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +0:21 3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:32 4. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +:0:38 5. Nils Politt (EF Education-Nippo) +0:44
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 79:40:09 2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:20 3. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +7:03
1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 304 2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 269 3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) 216
King of the Mountains
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 107 2. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 88 3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 82
Alongside Pogacar’s coronation in Paris, much of the focus will be on whether Mark Cavendish can sprint to glory on the Champs Elysees and go clear of the great Eddy Merckx with a 35th stage win of his career.
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