As Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic every took their head of their arms seconds after finishing Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Tour de France, neither man appeared to have the ability to course of what had simply occurred.
Pogacar, 21, had simply delivered one of the best efficiency of his younger profession, wiping out Roglic’s 57-second lead in a time trial and opening a probable insurmountable lead of his personal coming into the race’s ultimate day. The end result ensured that he’ll enter Paris for Sunday’s historically celebratory ultimate stage sporting the chief’s yellow jersey, and positioned him in order that he — not Roglic, the chief of the Tour for the previous two weeks — will turn out to be the primary rider from Slovenia to win the race.
Roglic completed fifth in Saturday’s time trial, almost two minutes behind Pogacar, who earned his third stage win of this 12 months’s Tour by handing over probably the most memorable performances within the race’s illustrious historical past.
“Unforgettable,” Pogacar mentioned as feelings overwhelmed him.
A number of toes away, Roglic, his good buddy and countryman, lay on the highway, speechless and struggling to catch his breath.
“I think I’m dreaming,” Pogacar mentioned. Then he interrupted himself: Roglic had come to congratulate him, and the 2 hugged. Roglic was crestfallen.
“I didn’t push enough,” he mentioned. “I rode without the power that I needed.”
Pogacar, of group UAE Emirates, is ready to turn out to be on Sunday the youngest winner of the Tour de France within the post-World Battle II period. He additionally leads within the races for the competitors’s finest climber and finest younger rider, capping a Tour during which he confirmed his breadth of expertise racing on flat roads, mountain passes and, lastly, when racing alone towards the clock.
Saturday’s epic stage ended a formidable duel between Pogacar and Roglic, and turned the tables after Roglic had held off Pogacar’s assaults for greater than per week.
Roglic, 30, had led the Tour since its ninth stage, and had by no means appeared to be threatened. He was backed by his teammates of on the Jumbo-Visma group, who maintained a quick tempo on the head of the peloton on numerous situations, and rode alongside him as he stored Pogacar from breaking free day after day.
However as he rode alone on Saturday, Roglic crumbled as a lot as Pogacar shone, and on the finish of the stage, their positions had switched: Roglic, who was main by 57 seconds within the basic classification earlier than the time trial, was left 59 seconds behind Pogacar.
“I just went full gas from bottom to the top,” Pogacar mentioned of the ultimate hill of the time trial, the place he cemented his victory within the stage. The remark epitomized each his efficiency on Saturday, and his racing all through the previous three weeks.
The duel between Roglic and Pogacar was joined on the hills of the Massif Central earlier this month, however it absolutely unfolded within the French Alps when the race entered its ultimate week on Tuesday, because it turned clear that the winner of the 2020 Tour de France can be one of many two males.