Peerless Pogačar wraps up his second Tour victory
CYCLING WEEKLY|July 22, 2021
Almost faultless in a frantic first week and imperious from then on, Tadej Pogačar ultimately breezed to a second yellow jersey, outclassing his more experienced rivals, reports Peter Cossins
Peter Cossins

Mikkel Bjerg is smiling broadly, talking animatedly and looks completely relaxed. There’s a simple reason for this, the young Dane has just finished the Tour de France’s final time trial between Libourne and Saint-Émilion and knows that his roommate and UAE Team Emirates leader Tadej PogaÄar is destined to win the coveted yellow jersey for the second year in a row.

What’s the secret to PogaÄar’s success, Bjerg is asked? “While we’re all suffering, Tadej’s just smiling and having fun,” he says. “It’s been hard mentally for me and the other guys trying to keep Tadej out of trouble, although he does keep himself out of trouble very well…”

In what was widely described as the hardest Tour in recent memory, due to the crashes, the weather, and the sheer intensity of the racing, PogaÄar’s uncanny ability to avoid the many pitfalls that lie in wait for every member of the Tour peloton, especially during the race’s nervy opening few days, was the foundation of his successful title defense. While almost every one of his major rivals was skittled out of contention even before the four-stage Grand Départ in Brittany had been completed, the 22-year-old Slovenian managed, through a crucial combination of skill and luck, to sail through those stormy waters.

As a consequence, when the GC battle began in earnest at the opening time trial in Laval on day five, PogaÄar was already ideally placed to capitalize on this advantage. Racing on an undulating and twisting course that his directeur sportif Allan Peiper felt would suit him extremely well, the Slovenian prodigy claimed victory. While this wasn’t surprising, the margin he opened up over his most obvious rivals was. All of them were more than 90 seconds back, most of them were hurting badly, each of them would eventually fall away, as PogaÄar continued his serene progress.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CYCLING WEEKLYView All

WARMING UP IS IT WORTH IT?

Most of us warm up more out of habit than scientific conviction. Here to add some rigour to our pre-race routines, Dr Mark Burnley has a PhD in precisely which warm-ups work best..

8 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Tour of Britain 7 June, 1964

The race departs from Blackpool, Lancashire, on the second part of the first stage. The riders would race 154km to Buxton where Brit Colin Lewis would cross the line victorious.

1 min read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Shimano launches new Dura-Ace and Ultegra

Not one but two new 12-speed, semi-wireless groupsets unveiled, writes Simon Smythe

7 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Storey leads British Paralympic velodrome medal rush

Veteran stars as Brits rack up podium places aplenty, writes Vern Pitt

3 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

WorldTour teams court Vernon after l'Avenir win

Brit ready to hit the big time, reports Vern Pitt

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Relaxed Roglič poised to strike

Stealthy Slovenian bides his time for red jersey move, writes Vern Pitt

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Independent Pedaler dominate National 50

Kent team take women’s podium and men’s gold

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

RACE PREVIEW TOUR OF BRITAIN

WITH A STELLAR LINE-UP AND A TOUGH ROUTE TO TACKLE, THIS YEAR’S RACE SHOULD PROVE TO BE A CLASSIC

9 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Cycling 6 October 1984

Phil Thomas wins titles not hearts

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021

Afghanistan Veteran Van Gass Claims Double Gold

Paralympic debutant sweeps the boards in Tokyo, reports Vern Pitt

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
September 02, 2021