Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) stunned the Tour de France to win the stage 20 time trial at La Planche des Belles Filles, taking the yellow jersey after one of the most shocking rides in recent memory to beat Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) by 1:56 on the 36km course.
Heading into the penultimate stage, the 21-year-old had a 57-second gap to make up on his compatriot, though few predicted that the time trial specialist Roglič could actually cede the maillot jaune in a test against the clock.
However, Roglič shed time from the beginning, falling 13 seconds down at the first checkpoint of the day after 14km, and 36 seconds at the end of the flat 30km section of the course. Pogačar flew up the climb as Roglič's struggles continued with a less-than-ideal swap from his TT bike to a road bike.
He was still 20 seconds to the good at that point but seemed to collapse as he climbed the first category mountain, which was 6km long at an average of 8.3 per cent. In a matter of seconds, his virtual lead evaporated to a deficit, going into the red at the 3.9km mark and never looking like returning to green. He crossed the final checkpoint, 2.7km out, a devastating 1:22 down.
As Pogačar rode under the flamme rouge, he was in yellow by over 40 seconds, powering to the line as Roglič's teammates Tom Dumoulin and Wout van Aert watched what was unfolding on the big screen in stunned silence.
By the time Pogačar crossed the line in a time of 55:55 – 1:21 ahead of the previous fastest man Dumoulin, the race was already over with the UAE leader having surged up La Planche 22 seconds faster than anyone else, setting a new all-time climbing record in the process, despite changing his bike at the bottom.
Roglič battled through the final kilometres, but only kept losing time. His Tour de France dream had come to an end in the Vosges mountains as he collapsed after the finish, consoled by his waiting teammates.
"I think I’m dreaming. I don’t know what to say. It’s unbelievable," the new GC leader said at the finish line of stage 20. "My dream was just to be on the Tour de France [podium], now the dream is true. I’m here and now there’s only the last stage. This is unbelievable.
"I'm really proud of the team. They did such a big effort. To get the yellow jersey on the final day is what we dreamed from the start. We achieved that and it's amazing.
"It was not just me, it was all the team. We did a reconnaissance and I knew every corner, every pothole in the road, I knew when to accelerate and that's congrats to all the team. I pushed to the end and I made it."
Miguel Ángel López (Astana) was the last man to cross the line, having experienced a similar disintegration over the past hour. The Colombian clocked the 45th best time of the day – and only the 44th best on the climb – to finish over six minutes down on Pogačar.
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), who lay 1:39 back in the morning, eased into the final podium spot, finishing third on the stage with a time of 57:16.
After the astonishing events of the day, Pogačar heads to Paris with a 59-second advantage over Roglič, while Porte lies in third, 3:30 down.
As well as the yellow jersey, Pogačar will take home the white jersey of best young rider, plus the polka dot jersey – the first rider to win all three at one Tour de France in history, since the white jersey didn't exist in the times of Eddy Merckx. Stage 12 winner Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb), meanwhile, takes the combativity award while Movistar win the team classification once again.
How it unfolded
The penultimate stage of the Tour de France would take in the final mountain of the race, La Planche des Belles Filles, though at the end of a 36.2km time trial rather than a mammoth mountain stage.
The TT – which looked to decide the final podium spot, the makeup of the top ten, plus the destination of the polka dot jersey – took in 14km of flat roads to the first checkpoint. Then it was a long rise and shallow descent to the base of the climb at the second checkpoint, 30km in, before the 6km, 8.3 per cent climb to the line, which featured the third checkpoint at 2.7km from the line.
Deceuninck-QuickStep dominated the early proceedings, with Rémi Cavagna and Kasper Asgreen setting the quickest times of the early runners. Cavagna set off first but caught Asgreen, his 1:30 man, and blitzed the two checkpoints, becoming the first man to break the hour barrier with a time of 57:54. Asgreen crossed the line second fastest at 1:00:25.
Twenty minutes later, Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) came just one second away from breaking the hour mark, while UAE Team Emirates climber David De La Cruz was the second man to do so, setting a time of 17:40 up the climb to go second at 58:35.
Double-stage winner Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) both went well, setting times of 59:54, but Cavagna's mark stood strong as the top 20 on GC began their efforts.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was the first man to beat Cavagna, almost three hours later. The Belgian all-rounder put in a time of 57:26 – including a new fastest time of 16:52 up the climb – to edge out the Frenchman by 28 seconds. Bahrain McLaren's Damiano Caruso put in an impressive ride, too, going third fastest at 58:24, as he overhauled Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) for 10th overall.
His teammate, former world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin, was flying on course, fastest at the second and third checkpoints, 51 and 27 seconds up on Van Aert, respectively. He crossed the line with a time of 57:16, 10 seconds up.
In the battle for the Tour's final podium spot, Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) was 41 seconds behind Trek-Segafredo's Richie Porte at the first checkpoint. A few minutes later, Roglič passed through, shedding 13 seconds to Pogačar.
Roglič lost more time at the second checkpoint, passing through 36 seconds down. At the top of the climb, the time for Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) was only fourth fastest up the mountain, a fatal blow in his bid to retain the polka dot jersey against the two Slovenians.
After a less than ideal bike change on the climb 5.2km from the top (Pogačar changed 500 metres earlier) Roglič got underway again, a 20-second gap in the virtual GC to Pogačar, but over the early kilometres of the climb he looked to totally crumble, with the time gap ticking down from green into the red.
López was experiencing something similar, losing 2:34 to Porte at the second checkpoint and lost another 1:41 on the climb to fall down to sixth overall, as the Australian grabbed his first-ever Tour podium. Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren), who finished 14th at 59:22, and Enric Mas (Movistar), ninth at 58:40, were also beneficiaries of López's poor ride, moving up to fourth and fifth overall respectively, while Dumoulin's second-place finish at 57:16 saw him take sixth.
Meanwhile, at the final checkpoint 2.7km from the finish, Roglič passed the ailing López, but was a mammoth 1:22 down on Pogačar. By that point, any hope that he had been saving energy on the flat had evaporated, and all that remained was the final slog to the finish, his chances in tatters.
Pogačar had blitzed the course, putting time into every major GC rider, bar Dumoulin on the flat, before blowing them away on the climb. The stage victory, and the 2020 Tour de France, is his.
|Place||Rider (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:55:55|
|2||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:01:21|
|3||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||00:01:21|
|4||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:01:31|
|5||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:01:56|
|6||Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:01:59|
|7||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:02:29|
|8||David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates||00:02:40|
|9||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||00:02:45|
|10||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:02:54|
|11||Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Pro Cycling||00:03:19|
|12||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:03:20|
|13||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||00:03:26|
|14||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||00:03:27|
|15||Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:03:58|
|16||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb||00:03:59|
|17||Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:03:59|
|18||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team||00:04:06|
|19||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:04:09|
|20||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||00:04:11|
|21||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:04:12|
|22||Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||00:04:13|
|23||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||00:04:27|
|24||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:04:30|
|25||Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team||00:04:38|
|26||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||00:04:39|
|27||Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team||00:04:42|
|28||Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:05:04|
|29||Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren||00:05:14|
|30||Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis||00:05:25|
|31||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:05:31|
|32||Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:05:31|
|33||Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:05:36|
|34||Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:05:46|
|35||Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:05:52|
|36||Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:05:54|
|37||Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling||00:05:56|
|38||Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:06:02|
|39||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||00:06:07|
|40||Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott||00:06:07|
|41||Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:06:14|
|42||Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott||00:06:16|
|43||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis||00:06:16|
|44||Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team||00:06:17|
|45||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:06:17|
|46||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation||00:06:18|
|47||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||00:06:26|
|48||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb||00:06:36|
|49||Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic||00:06:38|
|50||Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||00:06:47|
|51||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:06:52|
|52||Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers||00:06:52|
|53||Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:06:53|
|54||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling||00:06:56|
|55||Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:06:57|
|56||Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling||00:06:57|
|57||Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:06:59|
|58||Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis||00:07:00|
|59||Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis||00:07:01|
|60||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep||00:07:02|
|61||Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:07:08|
|62||Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||00:07:12|
|63||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb||00:07:17|
|64||Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb||00:07:18|
|65||Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:07:18|
|66||Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:07:23|
|67||Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||00:07:23|
|68||Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Pro Team||00:07:28|
|69||Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers||00:07:28|
|70||Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling||00:07:32|
|71||Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie||00:07:35|
|72||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling||00:07:39|
|73||Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale||00:07:41|
|74||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain McLaren||00:07:41|
|75||Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team||00:07:42|
|76||Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo||00:07:42|
|77||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale||00:07:45|
|78||Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept||00:07:47|