Tour de France: Tadej Pogacar set to clinch back-to-back titles as Wout Van Aert wins Stage 20

Wout Van Aert claimed victory on Stage 20 of the Tour de France, with Slovenian Tadej Pogacar set to be topped back-to-back champion

Final Up to date: 17/07/21 5:46pm

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia crosses the road throughout Stage 20 of the Tour de France. (Picture by Chris Graythen/Getty Photographs)

Tadej Pogacar stands to be confirmed as Tour de France champion for the second 12 months in a row after Wout Van Aert gained the stage 20 time trial in Saint-Emilion on Saturday.

Van Aert clocked a time of 35 minutes and 53 seconds over the 31 kilometres from Libourne, successful by 21 seconds from Kasper Asgreen to take his second stage of this 12 months’s Tour after his victory over Mont Ventoux on stage 11.

Pogacar’s commanding benefit in yellow was by no means more likely to be put in peril on the roads by means of Bordeaux wine nation, and although Jonas Vingegaard took 25 seconds out of the Slovenian to strengthen his grip on second, Pogacar leads by 5 minutes and 20 seconds forward of Sunday’s parade into Paris.

Vingegaard started the day with solely a six-second benefit over Richard Carapaz in third however clocked the third-fastest time to increase that to at least one minute 43 seconds.

The 24-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider, making his Tour debut and using solely his second profession Grand Tour, is now in line to ship Denmark’s first podium end since Bjarne Riis’ victory in 1996.

Team UAE Emirates' Pogacar celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 20th stage

Crew UAE Emirates’ Pogacar celebrates his total chief yellow jersey on the rostrum on the finish of the twentieth stage

Carapaz’s third for the Ineos Grenadiers can be a primary podium for an Ecuadorian within the Tour.

Jumbo-Visma got here into this Tour hoping to problem Pogacar for yellow by means of Primoz Roglic however have recalibrated brilliantly since his week one exit – with this their finest day but as each Van Aert and Vingegaard might have fun.

“Profitable a Tour de France time trial has been one of many greatest goals of my profession and I’ve been actually specializing in today so I am blissful I can end it off,” Van Aert stated.

“The course suited me, it was rolling and far quicker than (stage 5) so it was extra to my benefit. I believe it was the right day.

“It has been a extremely onerous Tour de France for our crew however we all the time fought by means of and in the long run we have had three stage wins and now we have Jonas in second within the common classification so it is actually an incredible consequence for a crew with solely 4 guys left.

“I am actually happy with how we fought.”

There was no repeat of the drama of final 12 months’s stage 20 time trial, when Pogacar snatched yellow from Roglic on the climb to La Planche des Belles Filles, however nor was there any expectation of something altering given Pogacar’s clear dominance over a depleted discipline.

Solely 142 riders of the 184 who left Brest three weeks in the past began the stage, a lot of them sporting wounds from a punishing version of this race – this Tour has seen the best variety of riders abandon since 2012, when 45 of 198 starters failed to achieve Paris.

As soon as Roglic went dwelling and Geraint Thomas soldiered on after dislocating a shoulder, Pogacar was left with out critical challengers, and he heads to Paris on Sunday because the proprietor not solely of the yellow jersey however the king of the mountains’ polka dots and the most effective younger rider’s white as effectively for a second 12 months working.

After the customary celebrations on the parade into Paris will come the one unresolved storyline of this Tour, with Mark Cavendish getting his closing probability of this 12 months’s Tour to interrupt Eddy Merckx’s document of 35 Tour stage victories.

The Manxman’s return to type, and to the Tour, has adopted a Hollywood script to this point, so there could be no higher place for the grand ending than within the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

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