Late charge means Pogacar almost certain to win Tour

Late charge means Pogacar almost certain to win Tour

RONCHAMPS (France) • Tadej Pogacar has yet to wear the yellow jersey in this year’s Tour de France. The first time the 21-year-old will don the overall leader’s jersey will be to ride into Paris today to be anointed as the champion.

He produced one of the best rides in the competition’s history to displace fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic at the top, winning yesterday’s penultimate stage – a 36.2km individual time trial between Lure and La Planche des Belles Filles.

The UAE Team Emirates rider won the solo effort against the clock as Roglic, who had started the day with a 57-second lead in the general classification, cracked in the uphill section, a 5.9km climb at an average gradient of 8.5 per cent.

The victory in 55 minutes and 55 seconds on Pogacar’s Tour debut is set to give him an incredible treble, as he also claimed the King of the Mountain’s polka dots and the best young riders’ white jersey.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream,” said Pogacar, who now leads second-placed Roglic by 59 sec ahead of today’s final stage, a largely processional ride to the Champs Elysees in Paris where only the final sprint is contested as tradition dictates the leader is not attacked.

“Getting the yellow jersey on the final day, we were dreaming of it since the start.

“I knew every corner on the road, thanks to the work of my team… My dream was just to be on the Tour de France and now I’ve won it. It’s unbelievable.”

Roglic, who had worn the yellow jersey for 11 days, sat on the ground grieving after blowing his lead but got up to hug and congratulate his countryman – Slovenia’s first Tour champion.

“I just obviously didn’t push enough,” he says. “It was like that, I was just more and more without the power I needed. I gave it everything until the end.

“We will see what happens now. I can be happy with the result and the racing we showed here. Let’s take the positive things out.”

Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin was second in the time trial – 1:21 behind Pogacar.

Australian Richie Porte of Trek-Segafredo was third in the same time, enough to secure third place in the overall standings-3:30 adrift of Pogacar.

The finale brought back memories of Greg Lemond trailing Laurent Fignon by 50sec going into the last stage in 1989 before winning it by eight seconds.

REUTERS