Philippa York: Analysing the state of play on the Tour de France's first rest day

Tour de France 2021 - 108th Edition - 9th stage Cluses - Tignes 144.9 km - 04/07/2021 - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021
Ineos Grenadiers strength in numbers not enough to counter Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) individual strength again on stage 9 of the Tour de France 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

It's the first rest day of the 2021 Tour de France and the long-term outlook suggests that this race is heading in one direction, with a second title on the cards for Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates.

After the time trial on stage 5, the opening encounter in the big mountains showed us the riders who are in the battle for the podium places. However, the way that last year’s winner rode away from his challengers on the Col de Romme, and again the next day on the long climb up to Tignes, demonstrated that he is a level above everyone else.

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Philippa York

Philippa York is a long-standing Cyclingnews contributor, providing expert racing analysis. As one of the early British racers to take the plunge and relocate to France with the famed ACBB club in the 1980's, she was the inspiration for a generation of racing cyclists – and cycling fans – from the UK.

The Glaswegian gained a contract with Peugeot in 1980, making her Tour de France debut in 1983 and taking a solo win in Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, the mountain range which would prove a happy hunting ground throughout her Tour career. 

The following year's race would prove to be one of her finest seasons, becoming the first rider from the UK to win the polka dot jersey at the Tour, whilst also becoming Britain's highest-ever placed GC finisher with 4th spot. 

She finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1986, to Pedro Delgado and Álvaro Pino respectively, and at the Giro d'Italia in 1987. Stage race victories include the Volta a Catalunya (1985), Tour of Britain (1989) and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1990). York retired from professional cycling as reigning British champion following the collapse of Le Groupement in 1995.