Tour de France 2021: Stage 5 – Pogacar takes the stage, but MvdP hangs on to yellow

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) lives to wear the maillot jaune for another day, while Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) reigned supreme in the Tour de France Stage 5 individual time trial. Having waited until the last possible moment in 2020 to claim the yellow jersey by beating Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) in the final ITT in the opening salvo of the Pog/Rog rivalry, it appears Pog is taking no prisoners in his bid to stand atop the Paris podium for the second year running. A relatively flat course *should* have made for an unexciting time trial, however, it would seem the word “boring” is not in this year’s Tour de France vocabulary. By the finish, it was only MvdP who ended the day in the same position as he started it – the rest of the GC Top 10 moved up, moved down, moved all around. 

The early starters

An early claim for the stage win was made by roommate of Tadej Pogacar, Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates). Bjerg, who at the age of 22 already has three Under-23 Time Trial World Championship titles to his name, smashed the previous time of Harry Sweeny, the Australian from Lotto Soudal, by 59 seconds. The young Dane spent an impressive two hours in the hot seat before his time eventually got beaten.

Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was on the road early in his resplendent all-green skinsuit. Not to get ahead of ourselves but Cav did beat the times of both Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Tony Martin (Team Jumbo-Visma) in the time trial. Read into that what you will… [I think you’re getting a bit carried there, Issie! – ed]

While the early action/inaction was taking place on television screens, Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) and his three-minute-man, Pierre Rolland (B&B HOTELS p/b KTM) treated cycling fans to some social media entertainment. Catch him if you can, Stefan!

Narrator: He caught him…

The watchful wait

As Bjerg kept the hot seat warm, a beady watch was being kept on EF’s Stefan Bissegger, who along with his fellow Stefan (Kung), was tipped for a good result on the stage. After all, the Swiss rider had already won the Paris-Nice time trial earlier this season ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and time-trialling star, Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck QuickStep)

The Cycling Lords, however, didn’t want us getting too comfortable in our “boring stage” vibes, so decided it was time for a bit of rain, some slippery surfaces and some nervy corners.

Eeeeek! Nice save, Stefan.

Mercifully, there was only one crash caused by the slightly greasy roads. Brandon McNulty (UAE) unfortunately was the victim, but he quickly got a new bike and finished the time trial. Hopefully the injuries aren’t anything too serious. Heal up, Brandon!

Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck QuickStep) was the first rider to knock Bjerg off the hot seat. The Italian took a lead of six seconds over the Dane, however the mighty Stefan Kung, current European time trial champion, was, as predicted, setting a storming time not far behind. Averaging 50.5 kilometres per hour for 27km, Kung set the new best time by 36 seconds. Surely this couldn’t be beat?!!?

A decent day for the JumboBees!

Primoz Roglic took to the start line extremely battered and bruised.


For a man who is currently missing a lot of skin and posing as a mummy, he posted a very respectable time, finishing only 44 seconds down on the stage winner, and now in 10th overall, 1.40 behind Pog

Roglic’s teammate Jonas Vingegaard is having a mightily impressive season – you may remember him best for stalking Pog’s wheel at Tour of the Basque Country, came to Le Tour as lieutenant to Roglic. And today, he came third and now sits in eighth place on the overall. Depending on Roglic’s form, possibly one to watch! Wout Van Aert was a favourite for today’s stage, but he finished fourth – three seconds behind teammate Vingegaard – but now sits third on the overall classification. Not a bad day for Team JumboBees!

INEOS Grenadiers trifecta defect

Richard Carapaz and Geraint Thomas will both likely be less-than happy with their time trial performances today. Thomas, a strong time-triallist especially on this kind of terrain, finished nearly two minutes down on the stage winner, no doubt still feeling the effects of his dislocated shoulder.

Richard Carapaz, for whom time trialling is not his specialty, went ten seconds quicker than teammate Thomas, which means he’ll have his work cut out for him in the mountains to get into real GC contention.

The Yellow Jersey

But it’s a big chapeau to Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) who fought tooth and nail to keep the maillot jaune on his shoulders for another day. The Dutch rider had never ridden a time trial of such a great distance (27km!) in his senior career and, according to rival and friend Wout van Aert, had certainly never ridden a time trial at full gas before!

An awesome display of respect to the race from MvdP.

Never underestimate a time trialling Pogacar

Once again Pogacar took a Tour time trial by storm, flying through the first time-check and continued flying all the way to the finish line. While enough to take the stage by some ways, it wasn’t enough to take yellow (most likely to the benefit of him and his team) and he did put down a very clear marker to his GC rivals. It’s ON. It’s now up to Jumbo-Visma and INEOS to work out how to keep him from riding into Paris in yellow. (They only have 15 stages to do it …)

The Final Word


Stage 5 Top 5

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 0:32:00

2 Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +0:19

3 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:27

4 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

5 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) +0:31

General Classification Top 10

1 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 16:51:14

2 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:08

3 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

4 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:48

5 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +1:21

6 Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) +1:28

7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +1:29

8 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +1:43

9 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:44

10 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:48

All the Jerseys

Leaders jersey : Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

Points jersey : Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

KOM jersey : Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgroghe)

Best young rider jersey : Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates)

For full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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