Tour de France 2021: Stage 20 – van Aert scorches the TT; Pogacar seals yellow

This year’s Tour de France feels like it could have, and probably should have, come to a close after the final mountain stage (Stage 18) on Thursday, with all but the green jersey classification signed, sealed and delivered to Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). Alas, the race sluggishly rolls on towards Paris, and Stage 20 saw the final competitive stage for the GC riders. A 30.8km flat time-trial saw very little change in the general classification – in fact, there was only one insignificant change in the whole of the Top 20. Second and third place on GC were secured by Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz, respectively.

However, it did see Wout van Aert storm to an emphatic stage victory, his second of this year’s Tour. That’s three Tour stages and a second step on the podium in Paris for a team that is going into Paris with just 4 riders left.

Last day of term

The 2021 Tour de France has had a very strange feel to it. Week 1 was all action, each stage had a heightened intensity and everything was all to play for. That was until Pog took total control of the GC on Stage 8, and well, since then, each stage has felt like a war of attrition just to reach the end. Week 3, and in particular today’s stage, has (for me at least) felt like a hard slog, as though we’re school children (or teachers!) desperate to reach that last day of term, and I think the collective giddiness/boredom/over-exhaustion of the #couchpeloton showed…

Nobody ever show us this again… [this image is going to haunt me – ed]

End of an Era

Sadly during today’s stage, three (well, two and a half) riders were announced this would be their last Tour de France.

Starting with the half, Thomas De Gendt *alluded* to the fact this might be his final year at Le Tour and suggested it may be time to hand the reins to someone else.

Secondly, Philippe Gilbert, who recently helped rescue a Tour de France spectator who had fallen into a ravine during the race, announced that this would definitely be his final Grand Boucle. He is planning on retiring from the sport at the end of 2022. A tough day for Lotto Soudal fans!

And finally, the Gorilla, Andre Greipel. One of the most prolific sprinters of the last twelve years, who has previously won 11 individual stages of the Tour de France, announced he would be retiring at the end of the 2021 season. All the best wishes for your next ventures, Andre!

It seems a few people might like to see Greipel take one final win on the Champs Elysees

Andre’s announcement was done with the same grace and humility as he has displayed in his cycling career. Truly one of the sport’s class acts.

Super Combatif Franck Bonnamour

Franck Bonnamour was awarded this year’s Super Combatif award, which goes to the rider who has been the most attacking, who’s been in the most breakaways … the rider who has been, quite simply, super combative.

Bonnamour couldn’t be more deserving and will ride to Paris with the red numbers on his jersey!

Those Jumbo guys …

Jonas Vingegaard

The 24-year-old Danish cyclist has ridden his first ever Tour de France, brought on the team to be Primoz Roglic’s lieutenant in the mountains. Imagine the shock of finding himself as leader-elect for Jumbo-Visma after a battered and bruised Roglic left the race.

Vingegaard’s display in the Stage 20 time trial (third on the stage and gaining 27 seconds on Pog) not only cemented his second place on the overall GC, but made us wistful for what could have been, had the time gaps been smaller after Week 1. There is an exciting future for this exciting racer!

Wout van Aert

The rider who can seemingly do it all.

  • Wins the Queen stage, which included two (yes, two!) ascents of Mont Ventoux …
  • …the day after coming second on a sprint stage to Mark Cavendish.
  • Blows the competition out of the water in the Stage 20 time trial.

A phenomenal rider, it’s a privilege to be a cycling fan in the Wout van Aert era of bike racing.

I really couldn’t say it any better…

Pogacar and on to Paris

Tadej Pogacar went into the TT with a buffer of 5:45, so bar crash or incident the yellow jersey was safe. Very unusual for him, either struggled with the heat or playing it safe, he looked less than comfortable in his effort and he ended the day in eighth place, 57 seconds back from WvA.

It warmed the heart to see Allan Peiper, Pog’s coach, who had recently been undergoing treatment for cancer and was unable to be in France, watching his protege secure yellow for the second year running.

With the yellow jersey wrapped up, the peloton press on to Paris tomorrow – will Cavendish break the Merckx record? Will Greipel sign off his career in style? Will van Aert win a mountain, time trial AND the Champs stage? I can’t wait to find out!

The last word emoji


Stage 20 Top 5

1 Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 35:53:34

2 Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:21:19

3 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:32:23

4 Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +0:38

5 Stefan Bisseger (EF Education Nippo) +0:44:59

General Classification Top 10

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 80:16:59

2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:20

3 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:03

4 Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) +10:02

5 Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) +10:13

6 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +11:43

7 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +12:23

8 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +15:33

9 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +16:04

10 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +18:34

All the jerseys

Leaders jersey: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Points jersey: Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

KOM jersey: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Best young rider jersey : Tadej Pogacar (Bahrain Victorious)

For full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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