Pogacar disconnects the 'bully mode' to secure the Tour

Van Aert won the stage, which did not change any position in the top ten. Vingegaard and Carapaz will accompany Pogacar on the podium. Mas, 6th, and Bilbao, 9th.

Pogacar-disconnects-the-'bully-mode'-to-secure-the-Tour
The dream of every organizer is to reach the last time trial, on Saturday or Sunday, with the leadership still in contention. The extreme ideal was lived last year at the Giro d'Italia with the two contenders, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley, tied in time. The Tour de France, meanwhile, experienced a turnaround at La Planche des Belles Filles, where Tadej Pogacar unexpectedly flipped his compatriot Primoz Roglic. In cases like these, the adjective 'decisive' is always added to the final timed. And so it is assumed by tradition: the decisive time trial. Solve something or not. In this edition of 2021, the Saint Émilion chrono, over 31 kilometers, really had little to decide, beyond the partial victory. Almost none. And so it concluded.

The cabals only shuffled a few swaps among the top ten ranked, but ultimately there was no variation. In fact, to find the first change in the general standings you have to jump up to 20th position, which Bauke Mollema snatched from Sergio Luis Henao. Who has suffered the most to maintain his place in the top-10 has been Ben O'Connor, who retained fourth place over Wilco Kelderman for 11 seconds. Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz will accompany Tadej Pogacar on the podium, as expected. Meanwhile, Enric Mas will finish sixth, a step worse than the previous year, and Pello Bilbao will finish ninth. If it comforts someone, which I don't think so, Spain will be the only country with two cyclists among the ten at the forefront.

Pogacar disconnected this Saturday the 'bully mode' in the fight for the time trial, which was won by Wout van Aert, a specialist, with 21 seconds of advantage over Kasper Asgreen. The Belgian from the Jumbo, who confessed that he was especially excited to conquer a Tour chrono, will end the race with two victories, with which he joins the club of multi-winners of this edition, which already included Mark Cavendish, Matej Mohoric and Pogacar himself . The Slovenian from the UAE Team preferred not to risk a victory more or less, and finished the stage eighth. When he crossed the finish line, yes, he celebrated with a clenched fist. His second Tour was already in the bag.

Pogacar will be crowned in Paris for the second time in a row. In 2020 it was a surprise victory. His class was well known at the time, he had already reached the podium in his first Tour of Spain, but at the age of 21 and as a rookie, a triumphant breakthrough in a race the size of the Tour was not imaginable. The present 2021 proposed a different story, here it did arrive as a great favorite. Only the revenge with Roglic and the collective potential of the Ineos crossed his path, but the falls of the first days made it impossible to know if there had been a real pulse. It will never be known. The Slovenian has literally swept the Tour with three stage victories, with 5:20 minutes over the second classified, Vingegaard, and with the hoarding of three jerseys: the white one for the best youngster, the one with polka dots for the best climber and the absolute king yellow. Cycling has fully entered the 'Pogacar era'.

Paris also awaits the arrival of a second monarch: Mark Cavendish. The British sprinter, winner of four stages, will take the podium with the green jersey on, but first he will seek to surpass Eddy Merckx's record of 34 partial victories now shared by both. The Champs Elysees sprint has always been of enormous prestige, but of little publicity, because that day there are other protagonists who monopolize the spotlight. The volata of this Sunday, which is presumed historical, will also change that trend. Like the decisive time trial that wasn't.



Photos from as.com
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