Tour de France 2021

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Tadej Pogacar wins 2021 Tour de France as Van Aert takes final stage

Tour de France stage 21 - As  it happened

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.

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Stage 21 results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 2:39:37
2Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
3Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
5André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
6Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
8Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
9Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
10Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash
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General classification after stage 21
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 82:56:36
2Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:20
3Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:07:03
4Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:10:02
5Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:10:13
6Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:11:43
7Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:12:23
8Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:15:33
9Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:16:04
10Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:18:34

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Stage 21

Stage 20

Stage 19

Stage 18

Stage 17

Stage 16

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage 9

Stage 8

Stage 7

Stage 6

Stage 5

Stage 4

Stage 3

Stage 2

Stage 1

The build-up

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. 

The route

Tour de France 2021 map

The route of the 2021 Tour de France  (Image credit: ASO)

The 2021 Tour de France will start in Brest in Brittany, on Saturday, June 26 having originally been scheduled for a Grand Départ in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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.

The contenders

PARIS FRANCE SEPTEMBER 20 Podium Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo Visma with his son Levom Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates Yellow Leader Jersey Richie Porte of Australia and Team Trek Segafredo Celebration Trophy Mask Covid safety measures during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 21 a 122km stage from MantesLaJolie to Paris Champslyses TDF2020 LeTour on September 20 2020 in Paris France Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images

Pogačar, Roglič and Richie Porte on the final podium in 2020 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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:

Race history

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


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