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Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) sprinted to the prestigious stage 21 victory in Paris to win the final stage of the 2021 Tour de France. The finish straight on the Champs-Élysées was 700 metres in length, 400 metres longer than in previous years, but that did not afford chasers enough real estate to catch Van Aert, who surged to the front of the peloton with under 250 metres remaining and took his third stage win of the three-week Grand Tour.
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) finished second, less than a wheel length from the line, to get his third second-place finish at the Tour. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep) finished third, but held on to the green jersey as the overall points classification victor, beating Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) by 56 points.
UAE Team Emirates rode into Paris with Tadej Pogačar wearing the maillot jaune and safely escorted him to the final podium to claim three classifications – overall, mountains and best young rider.
For the first time since 2012, only two riders finished within 10 minutes of the yellow jersey - Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) finished second, 5:20 off the winning mark, and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) placed third, another 1:43 back.
Bahrain Victorious won the team competition by 19 minutes ahead of EF Education-Nippo, and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) claimed the super-combativity award after an aggressive three weeks of racing.
Stage 21 started in Chatou with a gentle pace set by UAE Team Emirates, sporting new jerseys emblazoned with yellow bands to celebrate Pogačar’s second consecutive Tour win. The final 52km of the stage took place over the eight laps of the Champs Élysées, and while sprinters looked for glory in the stage win, Pogačar and his teammates eased across the finish to celebrate a job well done.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||2:39:37|
|2||Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix|
|3||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|4||Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange|
|5||André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation|
|6||Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux|
|7||Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange|
|8||Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech|
|9||Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM|
|10||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||82:56:36|
|2||Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma||0:05:20|
|3||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||0:07:03|
|4||Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team||0:10:02|
|5||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:10:13|
|6||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:11:43|
|7||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech||0:12:23|
|8||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis||0:15:33|
|9||Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:16:04|
|10||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo||0:18:34|
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- Tour de France leader Pogacar warns he could attack again in the Pyrenees
- Breakaway denies Cavendish a chance to equal Tour de France stage record in Nîmes
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- Tour de France organisers aim to sue spectator who caused mass stage 1 crash
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- Rough Tour de France start for Movistar as Soler abandons, López loses time
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- Matthews outshines Tour de France sprint rivals with second behind Alaphilippe
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Here at Cyclingnews we've been counting down the days until the 2021 Tour de France, with a series of special features to build up to the Grand Départ on Saturday June 26.
- Tour de France 2021: The essential race guide
- Tour de France bikes: who's riding what in 2021
- Form ranking: Tour de France 2021 contenders, pre-race
- Philippa York: I struggle to see Chris Froome as a Tour de France road captain
- Tour de France snubs: The 9 most controversial rider non-selections
- Out of Pinot's shadow and into the glare: David Gaudu takes aim at the Tour de France
- Tadej Pogacar: A life-changing moment captured in a photograph
- Analysing Ineos Grenadiers' 2021 Tour de France team
- Analysing Jumbo-Visma's 2021 Tour de France squad
- Tour de France 2021: 5 key stages
- Brandon McNulty: The Tour de France call-up
- Alberto Contador: Blowing the Tour de France apart
The opening two stages to Landerneau and Mûr-de-Bretagne will provide a chance for the puncheurs, versatile sprinters and climbers to take the maillot jaune early on before the sprinters get two chances to win as the race heads east across the centre of France.
An early GC showdown will come on stage 5 with the 27.2-kilometre time trial from Changé to Laval Espace Mayenne before the road racing resumes with two stages that take the peloton to the Alps.
Stage 8 to Le Grand Bornard will see the first major climbing of the Tour, with three first-category climbs – including the Col de la Colombière – in the second part of the 150.8-kilometre stage. The following day to the 21-kilometre long summit finish at Tignes is just as tough, revisiting the Critérium du Dauphiné one-two of the Col du Pré and Cormet de Roselend.
Tignes also hosts the first rest day on July 5, ahead of a sprint stage in Valence and stage 11's visit to Mont Ventoux, which will be tackled twice before a descent straight to the finish in Malaucène.
Nîmes and Carcassonne offer up two more sprint chances on the following days before a nailed-on breakaway stage in the hills to Quillan take the peloton to the Pyrenees.
There, stage 15 to Andorra brings with it three first-category tests, including the Souvenir Henri Desgrange as the race hits 2,408 metres at Port d'Envalira. A rest day in the microstate. A tough stage to Saint-Gaudens follows but all minds will be on the final two mountain stages.
Stage 17 takes the riders over the Col de Peyresourde and Col de Val Louron-Azet before the HC-rated summit finish at 2,215 metres at the Col du Portet. Stage 18 provides two more HC tests in the Col du Tourmalet and the summit finish at Luz Ardiden, the last chance for climbers to make their mark.
A penultimate sprint stage follows, taking the peloton to Libourne, where stage 20 brings the GC finale in the shape of a 30.8-kilometre time trial to Saint-Emilion. If the Tour hasn't already been decided, then it certainly will be here.
As ever, the grand finale and the crowning of the Tour de France champion comes in Paris on the Champs-Élysées following a 108.4-kilometre ride from Chatou on July 18.
Check out the full details of the 2021 Tour de France route here.
Once again, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) will be the main favourites for the title. The two are among the strongest climbers in the peloton and are also world-leading time trialists, which could prove decisive with two tests against the clock lying in wait for the riders.
The pair have enjoyed stellar starts to 2020, with Pogačar taking wins at the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, while Roglič took three wins at PAris-Nice and the overall at Itzulia Basque Country.
The main challenge to the Slovenian duo should come from Ineos Grenadiers, who are led by 2018 winner Geraint Thomas and 2019 Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz. The Welshman recently finished third at the Critérium du Dauphiné and looks best placed to challenge in both the mountains and time trials, while Carapaz is arguably the stronger climber.
Movistar's triumvirate will this year be headed up by new signing Miguel Ángel López, alongside Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde. The Colombian looked in dominant form at the Mont Ventoux Dénivéle Challenge in June and will hope to improve on his sixth place in 2020.
His compatriot Nairo Quintana is a three-time podium finisher at the Tour and once again leads out Arkéa-Samsic. He won the Vuelta Asturias earlier this year but was off form at the Dauphiné.
Another Colombian to watch is EF Education-Nippo's Rigoberto Urán, who finished second in 2017 and has taken two top 10s since. His teammate and countryman Sergio Higuita could end up the team leader this year.
Elsewhere, look out for Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), and Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange). They're all likely to be in the top 10 GC battle, though fighting for the very top spots looks a little tougher.
Finally, the battle for sprint victories and the green jersey looks wide open, with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) facing challenges from Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Tim Merlier and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Cees Bol (Team DSM), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), and more.
Bikes and tech
As the world's biggest bike race, the publicity and global reach that the Tour de France achieves is a sponsor's dream. As a result, the Tour de France is always a hotbed of tech, with new releases and custom colourways unveiled almost daily as brands work to capture the attention of onlookers.
What's more, with the hard-fought battle for the yellow jersey, teams will do everything within their power to eke out marginal gains with innovative inventions and mechanical hacks. Most of the time this comes directly from their contracted sponsors, but occasionally teams will look further afield, breaking contracts in the pursuit of free speed.
Here are the tech talking points we've seen so far:
- Tour de France bikes: who's riding what in 2021
- Oakley launches 2021 Tour de France collection
- Lapierre launches new Xelius SL ahead of the Tour de France
- Trek-Segafredo bikes given all-new colour schemes ahead of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia Donne
- Pinarello launches new Dogma F in preparation for the Tour de France
- Michael Matthews gets a custom Bianchi Oltre XR4 for Tour de France
- Why are Jumbo Visma using blue tyres at the Tour de France?
- Ineos Grenadiers switch to sponsor-incorrect Princeton Carbonworks wheels at Tour de France
- Tour de France tech: All the tech and trends from the 2021 race
- Is Canyon's broken Aeroad handlebar now fixed? Van der Poel's Tour de France bike suggests it is
- Tour de France winning bikes: Which brand has won the most Tours in history?
- Julian Alaphilippe's S-Works Tarmac SL7 at the Tour de France
- Van der Poel gets custom Canyon with poignant message at Tour de France
- Radical new sunglasses for Tadej Pogacar at the Tour de France
- Tour de France gallery: 40 years of time trial technology
- Mark Cavendish's Tour de France stage-winning S-Works Tarmac SL7
- 10-hour journey delivers sponsor-incorrect wheels for Van der Poel's Tour de France time trial
- Alpecin-Fenix go all-in with sponsor-incorrect tech as Van der Poel fights to keep yellow
- Kasper Asgreen to ride the Specialized Aethos in Tour de France mountain stages
- Tour de France helmets: Who's wearing what?
- Tour de France power analysis: Ben O'Connor's Stage 9 win in Tignes
- Spotted: Jumbo Visma on yet more non-sponsor wheels at the Tour de France
Pogačar is the reigning champion, having overhauled his Slovenian compatriot Roglič in the final time trial at last year's race. The 21-year-old became the race's second-youngest winner after Firmin Labot back in 1904.
Pogačar broke a Ineos/Sky stranglehold on the race, with the British team having won seven of the previous eight Tours de France with Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and four-time winner Chris Froome. Vincenzo Nibali, then riding for Astana, was the other man to break the British squad's dominance with a win in 2014.
The Tour wins record is currently held by four men, with Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain all on five titles.
2020 was also the year which saw the rare occasion of Sagan getting beaten in the battle for the green jersey. He lost out to Bennett after a race-long battle, but still holds the all-time green jersey rankings with seven wins in nine participations. Erik Zabel's six jerseys lie second, ahead of Sean Kelly's four.
Pogačar is the reigning mountain classification champion, too, having won the yellow, polka dot and white jerseys in 2020. He broke a three-year French stranglehold on the jersey after wins for Romain Bardet, Julian Alaphilippe and Warren Barguil.
Richard Virenque holds the record for polka dot jersey wins at seven, and it won't be beaten anytime soon as Rafał Majka is the only current rider to have won more than one king of the mountains title, with two.
Read on for a list of the riders with the most wins of the Tour de France, the most stage wins, as well as the major jerseys (active riders in bold).
Most Tour de France wins
- 5 – Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain
- 4 – Chris Froome
- 3 – Phiilippe Thys, Louison Bobet, Greg LeMond
- 2 – Lucien Petit-Breton, Firmin Lambot, Ottavio Bottecchia, Nicolas Frantz, André Leducq, Antonin Magne, Sylvère Maes, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Bernard Thévenet, Laurent Fignon, Alberto Contador
- 1 – Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, Tadej Pogačar
Most Tour de France stage wins
- 34 – Eddy Merckx
- 30 – Mark Cavendish
- 28 – Bernard Hinault
- 25 – André Leducq
- 22 – André Darrigade
- 20 – Nicolas Frantz
- 19 – François Faber
- 17 – Jean Alavoine
- 16 – Jacques Anquetiil, René Le Grevès, Charles Pélissiier
- 12 – Peter Sagan
- 11 – André Greipel
- 7 – Chris Froome
- 6 – Vincenzo Nibali
Most Tour de France green jersey wins
- 7 – Peter Sagan
- 6 – Erik Zabel
- 4 – Sean Kelly
- 3 – Jan Janssen, Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Robbie McEwen
- 2 – Stan Ockers, Jean Graczyk, André Darrigade, Laurent Jalabert, Thor Hushovd
- 1 – Mark Cavendish, Michael Matthews, Sam Bennett
Most Tour de France polka dot jersey wins
- 7 – Richard Virenque
- 6 – Federico Bahamontes, Lucien Van Impe
- 3 – Julio Jiménez
- 2 – Felicien Vervaecke, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Charly Gaul, Imerio Massignan, Eddy Merckx, Luis Herrera, Claudio Chiappucci, Laurent Jalabert, Michael Rasmussen, Rafał Majka
- 1 – Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Warren Barguil, Julian Alaphilippe, Romain Bardet, Tadej Pogačar
Tour de France 2021
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Top News on the Race
'Opi-Omi' spectator who caused Tour de France crash to be tried in criminal court ThursdaySpectator prosecuted for 'endangering others' and 'involuntary injuries'
Procycling Tour de France review issue out nowSeptember issue of Procycling magazine is a 2021 Tour de France review special
Finding a way to beat Pogacar is the biggest challenge for years to come, says Jumbo-Visma DSRoglic and Vingegaard likely for 2022 Tour de France
Colnago launches V3Rs collection inspired by Tadej Pogacar's three Tour de France classification winsYellow, white and polka dot framesets to be sold along with matching jersey signed by Pogacar
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Tadej Pogacar's Tour de France-winning Colnago V3RsItalian build complete with Campagnolo, Deda and Prologo, as well as disc brakes... mostly
Mark Cavendish: My fairytale Tour de France shows you should never give up'Bad decision cost me Eddy Merckx record' says green jersey
Caleb Ewan back on the road after Tour de France crashLotto Soudal rider has returned to outdoor training after titanium plate inserted during surgery on broken collarbone
Tour de France 2021: Stage 21 highlights - VideoWout van Aert goes back-to-back with stage wins while Tadej Pogacar wraps up his second Tour title
10 most memorable moments of 2021Highlights and puzzle pieces from the peloton that made headlines this past season
Ineos Grenadiers: Back to the drawing board for the Tour de FranceProcycling speaks to Gabriel Rasch about this year's Tour