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Agencies
September 20, 2020

Pogacar poised to win Tour after shock turnaround

Sports

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Agencies
September 20, 2020

RONCHAMP, France: Tadej Pogacar all but clinched the Tour de France on Saturday after his Slovenian compatriot Primoz Roglic let a 57 seconds lead slip in a tricky individual time-trial, the last day of real racing.

The 21-year-old Pogacar will lead the peloton into Paris on Sunday (today) wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey and, barring disaster, will climb onto the top step of the podium.

Pogacar pulverised the field with his stage-winning performance, and his team hugged and kissed him as they realised the 2020 Tour was theirs.

“My dream was just to take part,” said Pogacar on his first Tour de France.

“I could hear nothing on the final climb and I went for it with everything,” he said.

Roglic had led the Tour since stage nine and his dramatic meltdown on the final climb means Pogacar become the youngest postwar champion.

The UAE rider Pogacar changed bikes, which took 12 seconds, after the 30km rolling section to tackle the 6km eight percent climb at top speed.

The 30-year-old Roglic, known to panic, only decided to change bikes once he began to crumble fast, but it became painfully clear he was in for a horrible finale.

Roglic began the day with a 57-second advantage in the yellow jersey he has worn for 11 days, but it all went wrong for the pre-Tour favourite in the 36.2km time trial which ripped up expectations before Sunday’s traditional procession into Paris.

In one of the most dramatic and closest finales to the Tour since 1989, Pogacar won the stage in a time of 55 minutes and 55 seconds to give him an incredible triple of the yellow jersey as well as the King of the Mountain’s polka dots and the best young riders’ white.

Roglic conceded almost two minutes on the stage, crossing the line dejected as he was made to settle for second place.

Richie Porte overhauled Miguel Angel Lopez to claim third and his first career podium finish in the Tour, in what the 35-year-old admits will be his last entry as a team leader before his expected move to the Ineos Grenadiers next season.