Pogacar is the future

The Slovenian is crowned in Paris at the age of 21 after a comeback over Roglic that vindicates attack cycling and time trials. Bennett closes the Tour to sprint.


There is a descriptive photo of the 2020 Tour. In it you can see Primoz Roglic sitting on the ground, crestfallen, collapsed, staring blankly, surrounded by colleagues. One of them, Tom Dumoulin, strokes her head to offer her comfort. Roglic has just lost the yellow jersey at La Planche des Belles Filles after eleven days in front, after half a race exercising cycling-control with the Jumbo-Visma roller. Dumoulin knows well what the leader of the ranks feels at this moment, because he himself lost a Vuelta on the penultimate day, in that stage through the Sierra de Guadarrama in which Fabio Aru turned the classification around.

The photo invites some reflections. The first is that cycling is more cycling when circumstances push for a comeback. Tadej Pogacar, the unexpected Tour champion, the second youngest in history, gave 1:21 in the Lavaur fan, a disadvantage that in modern competition, carefully managed, is a deep crack, almost insurmountable if you have a passionate front like the Jumbo. Pogacar took pains every day to neutralize the difference. Just as Richie Porte and Mikel Landa applied, the other two affected by the wind. Three of the first four of the general were harmed that day. That means something. An award for brave spirits, for those who were forced to move. Roglic himself may be wondering today why he did not attack more.

Despite the desire to come back, the fruits were scarce. Until the penultimate day, Pogacar could only cut 24 seconds. Roglic's calculator perpetuated the dictatorship. Finally it was a chrono that put things in place, the one that culminated the climb of the UAE leader. It was the moment of the Tour. That leads to two other considerations, in this case for the organizers and their animosity towards the timed. On the one hand, this specialty does not reduce television audience. On the contrary, you can make it grow. And, for the same reason, a time trial in the first part of the race is convenient for other cyclists, such as Pogacar, Landa and Porte, to find it necessary to attack on the mountain.

Pogacar's victory leaves a good feeling for precisely that reason, because not only did he break the planned script, but he also took advantage of the established power to, without great support from his team, reach the decisive stage unscathed and take the deck when his rival no longer had room to rewind. The Jumbo put three cyclists in the top five of the clock, confirming their dominance, insufficient to tie up the jackpot. Chained watts didn't work this time. That's why it tastes better.

The triumph of this 21-year-old Slovenian, who will turn 22 this Monday, also keeps the door of the future open for that generation of young people who have come to stay, definitely for a long time. The 2019 Tour saw Egan Bernal, then 22, win. The 2020 Tour was taken by Tadej Pogacar, born a year later. The future heralds vibrant duels between the two. And they will not be the only ones. Let's not forget Remco Evenepoel.

Among these musings, the Tour de France reached Paris, something that was even doubted when leaving Nice. Sam Bennett, the green jersey, prevailed in the last sprint. Pogacar rounded out the first of many successes to come. And the virus did not condition the general or the development of the race. The Pandemic Tour has been decided by pedaling. And the best won.

Photos from as.com
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