Tour de France: Tadej Pogacar Becomes Slovenia’s First Winner

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However the protocols put in place to maintain the race protected appeared to work, and with the riders remaining in a so-called bubble, the Tour, probably the most prestigious biking race on the earth, proved {that a} sporting occasion of its scale may happen in the midst of a pandemic, at the same time as different occasions, just like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics or this summer season’s European soccer championship, have been postponed to 2021.

And whereas the coronavirus was largely stored out of the bubble, it remained omnipresent: The race director, Christian Prudhomme, examined constructive and needed to take away himself for every week, and in lots of situations followers cheered and ran alongside unmasked cyclists on slim roads with their very own masks down, or with out a masks in any respect.

The Tour breathed an enormous sigh of relief final Tuesday, after all of the remaining cyclists emerged damaging throughout a remaining spherical of virus testing. Out of 176 riders, 30 deserted the race this 12 months, however not one of the departures was linked to the coronavirus.

In the meantime, the Tour remained the Tour, with its passionate followers and scenic climbs, its surprising twists and age-old traditions: France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, paid a go to to the cyclists final Wednesday; favorites (and final 12 months’s champion) deserted the race both by way of harm or when it turned clear they may not win; and French cyclists, using at residence, turned in one other 12 months of disappointing performances.

Many anticipated the destiny of the Tour to be sealed on Wednesday’s Stage 17 on the Col de la Loze, a harrowing mountain climb within the French Alps that had by no means appeared on the race’s route. The 7,560-feet-high climb, specialists stated, would lastly resolve the duel between Pogacar and Roglic, who had led the Tour for almost two weeks as his teammates from the Jumbo-Visma group backed him every time Pogacar tried to make a problem for his lead.

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