Tadej Pogacar is poised to retain his Tour de France title in Paris tomorrow as he heads into the final ceremonial stage into Paris tomorrow with a commanding advantage of more than 5 minutes over his nearest rival. The 30.8km stage through the Bordeaux vineyards to Saint-Emillion was won by Wout Van Aert of Jumbo-Visma, the Belgian adding this stage against the clock to his victory on the stage that took in a double ascent of Mont Ventoux.
Even before UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar took to the start ramp in Libourne this afternoon, there was no prospect of a repeat of last year’s drama when he overhauled his friend and countryman Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma on the penultimate day’s individual time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles to get into yellow.
The 22-year-old is the first rider to retain the yellow jersey since Chris Froome won the race for the fourth time in 2017, the first to retain the polka-dot jersey since Michael Rasmussen in 2006, and the first to win back-to-back white jerseys as best young rider since Andy Schleck won it for the third year in a row in 2010.
Tour de France winner in waiting, Tadaj Pogacar
When I crossed the finish line, I felt a happiness that’s quite hard to describe. The time trial seemed to pass faster than a normal time trial, thanks in part to the support of the public along the way. Even though I was struggling and the day was very hot, I enjoyed every kilometre.
It is not possible to compare the success in the last edition to what I am experiencing now: they are both different.
It was very nice to share this experience with the team, friends and family, the fans and having the chance to see our sporting director Allan Peiper [who is recovering from surgery for cancer} before the start.
We haven’t met since January, and he has been important in preparing for this Tour de France, so it was exciting to see him in good spirits and in good shape.
Stage winner, Wout van Aert
It was one of my big goals in my career to win a time trial in the Tour de France. It’s the biggest race of the year.
I have been looking forward to this time trial for a long time and I really worked towards it in recent days. I am very happy that it worked out.
Compared to the previous race against the clock, this was a faster time trial. That was to my advantage. When I saw the classification riders’ times from the hot seat, my hopes of winning began to rise. It was a perfect day.
Full result, report and reaction to follow.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.