Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
(Want the Daily News Digest delivered directly to your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)
Sam Bennett sprinted to victory on stage 21 of the Tour de France on Sunday, topping Mads Pedersen and Peter Sagan on the Champs-Élysées. Moments later, Tadej Pogacar crossed the finish line safely to wrap up his first ever overall Tour title.
The final stage of the race came down to a bunch kick, with Bennett and Pedersen both hitting the front with 250 meters still to go. Bennett led early in the sprint and no one could pull even before the line, where he took his second career Tour stage win and secured his green jersey, marking the first time the points classification winner has also taken the final stage since Mark Cavendish did so in 2011.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am. Green jersey, Champs-Élysées, World Championships of sprinting, I never thought I’d be able to win this stage and to do it in green is so special,” Bennett said after the stage. “To do it with my dream team Deceuninck-Quick-Step, the way the boys rode all day, they were fantastic. It’s just so amazing, I can’t thank everyone enough.”
The 122-kilometer final stage from Mantes-la-Jolie into Paris came down to the expected sprint, but a handful of escapees did survive for perhaps a little longer than expected. Greg Van Avermaet, Max Schachmann, Pierre-Luc Perichon, and Connor Swift formed a leading quartet that held on for several laps on the Paris finishing circuit. Swift was caught just before the last lap, however, and the other three were all reeled in in the final lap with around four kilometers to go to set up the bunch kick.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Trek-Segafredo were well-placed for the finale, with Deceuninck’s Michael Morkov lead the peloton onto the finishing straight and Trek’s Jasper Stuyven just behind. As Bennett and Pedersen both launched, Bennett surged to the early lead in the sprint. Although Pedersen hung with Bennett into the closing meters, there was no catching Bennett, who celebrated emphatically as he hit the line.
Behind the sprinters, Pogacar and the rest of the top GC riders finished safely in the bunch, with Pogacar becoming the Tour’s youngest winner in over a hundred years as he arrived at the finish and Primoz Roglic and Richie Porte rounding out the final podium.
“It’s unbelievable. Really crazy,” Pogacar said. “Even if I din’t win, if I was second or even last, it wouldn’t matter, it would be still nice to be here. But this is just the top of the top. I cannot describe this feeling with words.”
Top 10, Stage 21
1 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2:53:32
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo)
3 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
4 KRISTOFF Alexander (UAE-Team Emirates)
5 VIVIANI Elia (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
6 VAN AERT Wout (Team Jumbo-Visma)
7 EWAN Caleb (Lotto Soudal)
8 HOFSTETTER Hugo (Israel Start-Up Nation)
9 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
10 WALSCHEID Max (NTT Pro Cycling)
Top 10, Final GC
1 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 87:20:05
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:59
3 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) 3:30
4 LANDA Mikel (Bahrain – McLaren) 5:58
5 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 6:07
6 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Astana Pro Team) 6:47
7 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma) 7:48
8 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 8:02
9 YATES Adam (Mitchelton-Scott) 9:25
10 CARUSO Damiano (Bahrain – McLaren) 14:03
In other news
| Merckx: Jumbo-Visma rode ‘stupidly’ at the Tour de France
Five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx has criticized Jumbo-Visma’s tactics at this year’s Tour. In an interview with L’Equipe after Tadej Pogacar’s overhauled Primoz Roglic in the stage 20 time trial, Merckx said that Jumbo-Visma should have seen Pogacar’s yellow jersey challenge coming and acted accordingly.
“They mostly rode stupidly,” Merckx said of Jumbo-Visma. “For three weeks we saw them ride at full speed, letting nothing pass. They dominated, controlled everything, but they only forgot one guy, this young 21 year old at only 50 seconds back. What an error of judgment! They caught themselves their own trap.”
Merckx said that the threat Pogacar posed should have been “obvious” to Jumbo-Visma.
“You can ask my wife and my relatives, I’ve been saying for days that Roglic’s 50-second lead was not enough to secure the final victory,” Merckx said. “I saw this Pogacar coming as big as a house. I had said that the only solution for him was to wait for the time trial, time was on his side.”
As it turned out, that’s just what Pogacar did. The 21-year-old entered Saturday’s TT with 57 seconds to make up on Roglic, but he took nearly two minutes on his compatriot to take yellow.
| Tour peloton makes small anti-racism gesture, shows support for Kevin Reza
At the start of Sunday’s 21st and final stage of the 2020 Tour, much of the peloton donned masks with hand-written messages showing solidarity against racism and support of the Tour’s only black rider, Kevin Reza.
Several teams arrived to the start with masks saying “End Racism” or “No to racism” and continued to wear them through the processional starting kilometers of the stage.
“Finally, it took the world’s biggest race for the message to be heard,” Reza said. “I couldn’t make myself clear on this subject. It’s nice to see positive reactions. Today, the ASO allowed me to deliver the message by riding on the front. There’s still a lot of work to do. This is a great start.”
| Van der Breggen wins the Giro Rosa as Muzic takes the final stage
Anna van der Breggen wrapped up the overall victory at the Giro Rosa on Saturday as Évita Muzic took the ninth and final stage.
The lumpy final stage in and around Motta Montecorvino came down to a collection of escapees, with Muzic out-sprinting Niamh Fisher-Black and Juliette Labous for the win.
Anna van der Breggen crossed the uphill finish line 3:36 down to seal the GC win with Kasia Niewiadoma and Elisa Longo Borghini rounding out the final podium.
Top 10, stage 9
1 MUZIC Évita (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 3:16:30
2 FISHER-BLACK Niamh (Équipe Paule Ka)
3 LABOUS Juliette (Team Sunweb)
4 RAGUSA Katia (Astana Womens Team) 0:03
5 VAN DIJK Ellen (Trek-Segafredo Women) 0:04
6 MAGNALDI Erica (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) 0:08
7 STULTIENS Sabrina (CCC – Liv) 0:10
8 BUJAK Eugenia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) 0:25
9 SIERRA Arlenis (Astana Womens Team) 0:36
10 PATIÑO Paula Andrea (Movistar Team) 0:42
Top 10, Final GC
1 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team) 26:25:43
2 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna (Canyon SRAM Racing) 1:14
3 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa (Trek-Segafredo Women) 2:20
4 LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 2:22
5 HARVEY Mikayla (Équipe Paule Ka) 2:52
6 MOOLMAN Ashleigh (CCC – Liv) 5:02
7 SANTESTEBAN Ane (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) 6:31
8 PATIÑO Paula Andrea (Movistar Team) 6:54
9 GARCÍA Mavi (Alé BTC Ljubljana) 7:06
10 MUZIC Évita (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) 7:47
| Ulissi wins the Tour de Luxembourg
Diego Ulissi sealed the overall title at the Tour de Luxembourg on Saturday.
After some drama as a truck on course caused a crash inside the last 70 kilometers, Andreas Kron took the win in the fifth and final stage with Ulissi taking second ahead of Markus Hoelgaard in third. Ulissi took the GC win with Hoelgaard taking overall runner-up honors and Aimé De Gendt rounding out the podium.
In case you missed it
| Porte: Tour podium ‘feels like a victory’
A podium finish at the Tour de France meant a lot to a rider who has seen so many Tour dreams dashed over the years.
| Tadej Pogacar broke all the rules
As Caley Fretz writes, Tadej Pogacar did things his own way en route to a Tour de France victory.
| What do you say to someone who just lost the Tour de France?
The magnitude of a victory sits in balance with the weight of a loss, and Primoz Roglic felt that weight on Saturday.
| Tour de France gallery: A time trial for the ages
Images from the Grubers, Kristof Ramon, and Cor Vos and words from Matt de Neef tell the story of the thrilling stage 20 time trial at the 2020 Tour de France.
Today’s featured image of Sam Bennett winning stage 21 of the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.