Anyone who had any doubt in the strength of Tadej Pogacar only had to watch today’s Stage 17 to realise that, bar a complete collapse, the peloton’s wunderkind is going to ride into Paris on Sunday to take his second Tour de France in a row. In a stunning show of power – both by his UAE team and then by Pogacar on the final 10km of the stage – the stage ended with the widely predicted win for the reigning champion but the manner of the win was something quite spectacular. As for second and third podium positions, they seem relatively safe from the bunch for Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) respectively, with the closest rival, EF’s Rigoberto Uran, more than a minute and a half down from them in GC. But with only 4 seconds between the two, we can expect some Jumbo-Ineos fireworks on the last mountain stage tomorrow.
As we wave farewell to professional cycling for another season on the final day of the 2020 Vuelta, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) won the close bunch sprint in Madrid ahead of Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Max Kanter (Sunweb). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) now has consecutive Vuelta titles, with Richard Carapaz (INEOS) and Hugh Carty (EF Cycling) second and third respectively.
Elisa Balsamo (Valcar Travel) won the last stage of the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta on the circuit in Madrid ahead of Lorena Wiebes (Sunweb) and Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana). Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit WNT) defended the leader’s red jersey to also take back-to-back titles ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo) and Wiebes.
The last mountain stage, the last stage (barring crashes or DNFs) that the final podium could change, the penultimate race day of the 2020 Vuelta and the men’s pro cycling season. We expected fireworks and in a way we got them, although it felt like a slow nervous breakdown watching the final 3km of the GC race. But up ahead, FDJ’s David Gaudu took another Vuelta stage, with NTT’s Gino Mader and Ion Izagirre (Astana) second and third in the stage. Ineos’s Richard Carapaz had one more roll of the dice, which resulted in the most nail-biting three kilometres since … the Giro! With Primoz Roglic alone, under pressure and not looking his effervescent self, the fear was that he was going to lose another Grand Tour (in the same season!) on the penultimate stage. But he dug deep, rode on fumes and mental strength, and limited his losses to save the red jersey for Madrid.