Slovenian cyclist, Tadej Pogacar, took the yellow jersey for the second time in a row after becoming the youngest rider to win the Tour de France twice. After putting on an exhibition during the three weeks of competition and showing an unbeatable level, Pogacar's career promises to be epoch-making.
In 2020, the Slovenian UAE Team Emirates rider took the lead on the penultimate stage and won by surprise. This time he has completely dominated the competition, practically from day one. 14 days as leader. The rider has smashed all records and will earn half a million euros for the title.
"No," he replied emphatically at a press conference when asked if he was beginning "the Pogacar era". However, his track record is the opposite. "We are at the beginning of a new era in cycling, the arrival of a new generation that will change everything, and I'm looking forward to fighting with them for the next 10 years, at least. But I didn't bring the new times", he said.
At just 22, the Slovenian rider surpassed the record of 23-year-old double Tour champion Phillipe Thyis, who achieved the milestone at the beginning of the 20th century. Moreover, Pogacar took the baton from Froome in 2015-2016, the last rider to win two French rounds in a row. The data makes him the heir to a new dynasty.
Denmark's Jumbo's Jonas Vingegaard and Ecuador's Richard Carapaz of INEOS Grenadiers shared the podium with the Slovenian in Paris. Vingegaard troubled the champion's aspirations on the Mont Ventoux stage, but Pogacar eventually distanced himself from the Dane by 5 minutes and 20 seconds; another 7 minutes and 5 seconds separated him from third.
Belgian Wout Van Aert was the first to cross the finish line on the eighth and final stage of the competition to thwart Mark Cavendish. Had he taken the win, the 36-year-old Briton would have become the rider with the most stage wins (35) in the Tour ahead of Eddy Merckx. However, the Belgian defended his compatriot's legacy on the Champs-Elysees.
The level of Spanish cycling was far from the best records. Of the total of 17 Spanish riders, 16 managed to finish the competition and cross the finish line in the French capital. The Catalan Marc Soler was the only one to abandon after a massive crash in the first stage. The other side of the coin was Enric Mas. The 26-year-old from the Balearic Islands was sixth overall, three places behind fellow Spaniard Pello Bilbao.