Tadej Pogacar: Slovenian cycling sensation secures second Tour de France victory

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In truth, Pogacar’s dominance of the 2021 Tour arguably has at times appeared almost like a procession, especially after rivals such as compatriot Primoz Roglic and Geraint Thomas both suffered crashes early in the race.

Roglic crashed heavily on stage three, retiring from the race a few days later. Despite a shoulder dislocation during the third stage, Thomas continued but fell in the standings.

In the mountains, Pogacar was put under pressure by Jonas Vingegaard when the peloton climbed Mont Ventoux twice, but the Slovenian recovered so as not to waste time. The Slovenian went on to win two summits in the Pyrenees.

The UAE Team Emirates rider won by five minutes and 20 seconds over second-placed Dane Vingegaard.
It was a measure of Pogacar’s dominance that he also won the polka dot and white jerseys as King of the Mountains and Best Young Rider respectively.

Last year Pogacar became the youngest winner of the famous three-week race since 1904 and the first Slovenian to wear the yellow jersey, cycling’s most coveted prize.

Tadej Pogacar's closest rival during the Tour was Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark (R) of Team Jumbo Visma, who finished second.
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The Pogacar era

Pogacar announced himself to the world with his shock victory in the Tour de France last year.

Over the next year, he became a true sports superstar and his second consecutive Tour victory crowned what has been one of the most meteoric climbs of any athlete in recent memory.

At just 22 years old, Pogacar seems to be a dominant force in Grand Tours cycling for many years to come, but the Slovenian scoffed at the idea that this was the start of a “Pogacar era”.

“I don’t consider this to be ‘the Pogacar era’,” the Slovenian cyclist told reporters after scoring another resounding victory on stage 18th. “It’s just plain stupid in my opinion, but a new era is sure to come.

“We are seeing so many young people move to the top level and we will see a lot of battles between everyone, so many young names. The next few years will be really tough.”

However, former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, while admitting that Pogacar is “a talented guy”, told ITV4 that “no one is unbeatable”.

Pogacar dedicates the polka dot jersey.

Many of those fighting at the highest level are Slovenian compatriots from Pogacar.

Roglic, 31, has already established himself as one of the best riders of his generation with two victories in the general classification of the Vuelta a España, while Matej Mohoric, 26, is already two-time Slovenian road champion and counts at least one individual stage victory on each of the three Grand Cycling Tours, earning its stage victory on the Section Tour on Friday.

Pogacar’s girlfriend Urska Zigart claimed the first professional victory of her career just 24 years earlier this season to add to the country’s burgeoning cycling reputation.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the young nation of just two million people, which has already begun to dethrone the more established powers of cycling. France, which has not known a Tour winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985, has more than 67 million inhabitants.

Pogacar’s rise to Tour de France glory might not have come as a surprise, the only surprise was that it happened so quickly.

Just three years ago, Pogacar won the prestigious Tour l’Avenir, an under-23 race that follows the conclusion of the Tour de France and often part of the same route.

Pogacar is ahead of Vingegaard during the 18th stage between Pau and Luz Ardiden, on July 15, 2021.

If Pogacar’s victory was one for centuries, this year’s Tour hasn’t always been straightforward, however, after a woman held up a banner and caused dozens of cyclists to fall on stage one.

According to race video coverage of the incident on Saturday, the sign hit German rider Tony Martin who was riding close to the front of the field. Martin fell, resulting in dozens of runners falling behind him.

Cyclists fell en masse and the crash left bikes and bodies entangled on the road. The fall delayed the race for several minutes.

The woman who allegedly held up a banner has been identified and has been questioned by the police, the Brest prosecutor’s office told CNN.

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