Tour de France stage 9 analysis: Pogacar first, the rest nowhere

TIGNES, FRANCE - JULY 04: Tadej Pogačar of Slovenia and UAE-Team Emirates yellow leader jersey at arrival during the 108th Tour de France 2021, Stage 9 a 144,9km stage from Cluses to Tignes - Montée de Tignes 2107m / @LeTour / #TDF2021 / on July 04, 2021 in Tignes, France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) at the finish of stage 9 of the 2021 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Eclipse was the name of a famous British racehorse in the late 1700s, which won 18 races and retired undefeated. Eclipse was so dominant that his owner would bet on him using the phrase, “Eclipse first, the rest nowhere.”

There is a similar air of invincibility surrounding Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) at the 2021 Tour de France. Like a needle scratch across a dramatic and exciting piece of music, Pogačar has killed any sense of suspense created by the chaotic first week at the 2021 Tour de France. The Slovenian may not have won either of the mountain stages of the race’s Alpine weekend, but in putting significant time into his rivals with ease on both days he is looking unbeatable. He didn’t particularly need to drop the other general classification riders on the climb to Tignes, but it almost looked like he couldn’t help himself.

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Edward Pickering is Procycling magazine's editor. He graduated in French and Art History from Leeds University and spent three years teaching English in Japan before returning to do a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at Harlow College, Essex. He did a two-week internship at Cycling Weekly in late 2001 and didn't leave until 11 years later, by which time he was Cycle Sport magazine's deputy editor. After two years as a freelance writer, he joined Procycling as editor in 2015. He is the author of The Race Against Time, The Yellow Jersey Club and Ronde, and he spends his spare time running, playing the piano and playing taiko drums.