the exceptional coronation of the young Slovenian prodigy Tadej Pogacar

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After his demonstration on the time trial on Saturday, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar officially won the Tour de France 2020 at the end of the 21st and final stage, Sunday, September 20. At the dawn of his 22 years, he is the youngest winner of the Grande Boucle since 1904. And like the great Eddy Merckx in 1972, he offers himself three jerseys, including of course the yellow jersey.

This Tour de France 2020 will be remembered for several reasons. There is already this context of the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted the organizer to postpone this edition by two months and to introduce strict health measures for all. And then, this Grande Boucle will be remembered for its breathtaking final, which sees Tadej Pogacar winning this Sunday, September 20 on the Champs-Élysées.

The winner of the 21st and final stage, between Mantes-la-Jolie and Paris, is called Sam Bennett, stronger in the final sprint. But on the road to the capital, all eyes were on the UAE Team Emirates prodigy. All dressed in yellow, Tadej Pogacar savored the fruit of his feat achieved on Saturday.

The incredible feat of the penultimate stage

After the victory of Egan Bernal in 2019 (the Colombian, behind and in poor shape, gave up before the 17th stage this year), the yellow jersey seemed promised to another Slovenian: Primoz Roglic. Well installed in the lead and supported by his Jumbo-Visma team, the former ski jumper has been leading the way since the 9th stage. But on Saturday, on the last time trial, the leader exploded against the feat of his compatriot Tadej Pogacar.

Exceptional, the native of Komenda engulfed everyone during the penultimate stage. Second in the general classification with 57 seconds behind Roglic, Pogacar closed this gap to take the lead and push the now ex-leader 59 seconds behind him at the end of the race. A completely crazy scenario, worthy of the Greg LeMond-Laurent Fignon duel on the last day of the Tour de France 1989. Livid, annoyed, Primoz Roglic could not do anything and recognized the superiority of his young rival: ” Tadej was much better than me. (…) He deserves his victory, congratulations to him. »

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, September 20, 2020, the day of his victory in the Tour de France. Benoît Tessier / Reuters

“I’m just a kid from Slovenia”

For Tadej Pogacar, it is a ” absolute dream Which materializes. For his first participation in the Tour de France, the Slovenian wins. The world of cycling is perhaps witnessing the birth of a phenomenon. A monster of precocity, the young man, winner of three stages, enters the history of the Tour. Monday September 21, he will celebrate his 22nd birthday. Winner at 21 years and 364 days, he is the youngest winner of the post-war period, almost making us forget the Egan Bernal show last year (winner at 22 years and 196 days). Only one man did better than Tadej Pogacar: the French Henri Cornet, crowned ten days before his 20th birthday… in 1904!

« Things will change, but I want to stay the same, train and run with the same mindset. We have to keep up the good work of the team, stay humble and continue to give our best in the next races. I’m just a kid from Slovenia with two sisters and a brother. I like to have fun, appreciate life in its little things », Declared Tadej Pogacar on Saturday at a press conference. A simplicity and timidity that stand out with his exceptional Tour de France 2020.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar celebrates his victory in the Tour de France 2020 on September 20, 2020.
Slovenian Tadej Pogacar celebrates his victory in the Tour de France 2020 on September 20, 2020. Benoît Tessier / Reuters

He equals Eddy Merckx, who describes him as “a very big one”

Because Tadej Pogacar will not return to Slovenia with the yellow jersey only. The champion also won the best climber’s red polka-dot jersey and the best youngster’s white jersey (the green jersey for the points classification winner goes to Irishman Sam Bennett). Three out of four jerseys is unheard of since 1969 and Eddy Merckx (yellow jersey, polka dot jersey and green jersey).

In the columns of The team, the Belgian “Cannibal” has scratched the discomfiture of the Jumbo-Visma team and above all entrusted all the good he thinks of Tadej Pogacar, whom he saw ” come as big as a house »His feat achieved on the time trial. ” Since his third place in the Tour of Spain last year, I know it’s a very big one. You can’t do such numbers on a Grand Tour from three weeks to 20 years old without having the talent that goes with it. », Assures Merckx. The future looks bright for Slovenian cycling, led by a little prodigy by the name of Tadej Pogacar.

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