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Tadej Pogacar is in the yellow jersey.
The young Slovenian rode out of his mind up La Planche des Belles Filles and took 1’56” out of the yellow jersey of Primoz Roglic, enough to pull the yellow off his compatriot’s shoulders by 59 seconds. Pogacar won the stage by 1’21” over Tom Dumoulin.
“I think I’m dreaming,” Pogacar said, still clearly stunned by his own effort. “I don’t know what to say.”
“I’m really proud of the team, they did such a big effort. To get the jersey on the final day, that was just a dream. We were dreaming of that from the start and we achieved it.”
Richie Porte, on the TT of his life, crossed the line less than half a second down on Dumoulin and pulled himself onto the podium.
How it happened
The final time trial pitted riders against roughly 30 rolling kilometers before turning up La Planche des Belles Filles, finishing with 6km at 8.5%. Only the fastest were able to duck under the hour mark.
Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) set an early fast time and sat in the hot seat for much of the day, until Wout van Aert laid down a new best. Van Aert made the decision to swap to his road bike at the base of the Planche des Belles Filles and it appeared to be the right call, as he clawed back significant time on the way to the top of the climb. Van Aert crossed the line in 57’26”.
Tom Dumoulin was the next to go fastest, lopping another 10 seconds off his teammate’s time. Dumoulin, famously comfortable on his TT bike, did not swap bikes at the base of the climb.
Roglic and Pogacar hit the base of the Planche des Belles Filles nearly even on time, both swapped from their time trial bikes to their road bikes, and it all came down to the final six kilometers. Two Slovenians, in yellow and white, just a handful of seconds between them.
For Roglic, any hope that Pogacar and gone out too fast soon faded, and his gap to Pogacar slowly grew.
There was nowhere to hide for Roglic on such a demanding course, backloaded by the brutally steep pitches of La Planche.
By the top, Pogacar proved he’s the strongest rider in this Tour de France, taking huge time out of specialists like Dumoulin and becoming the youngest Tour de France winner since 19-year-old Henri Cornet 1904.
“It was not just me,” Pogacar said. “It was all the team. We did the recon. I knew every corner, I knew every pothole on the road, I knew where to accelerate, because it was the road that you need to know. Congrats to all my team, especially my sports directors, masseurs, my mechanics, my teammates.
“I was listening to my radio on the flat part but on the climb I didn’t hear anything from the radio because the fans were too loud. I didn’t hear anything, didn’t get time gaps. nothing. I just went deep. I knew the climb really well so I just went full gas to the bottom to the top.”
Top 10, stage 20
1 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 55:55
2 DUMOULIN Tom (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:21
3 PORTE Richie (Trek – Segafredo) ,,
4 VAN AERT Wout (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:31
5 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:56
6 CAVAGNA Rémi (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 1:59
7 CARUSO Damiano (Bahrain – McLaren) 2:29
8 DE LA CRUZ David (UAE-Team Emirates) 2:40
9 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 2:45
10 URÁN Rigoberto (EF Pro Cycling) 2:54
Top 10, GC
1 POGACAR Tadej (UAE-Team Emirates) 84:26:33
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
More to come.