Tour de France: Pogacar 'super happy' as Slovenian ace celebrates in Paris

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Tadej Pogacar said he felt "super happy" after putting the finishing touches to a second successive Tour de France triumph.

The 22-year-old Slovenian had led the general classification from stage eight, and 15 days down the road in Paris he wrapped up a supremely impressive performance.

As well as the top prize, Pogacar also collected the king of the mountain and young rider honours, and it is hard to imagine there not being abundant further success to come over the next decade.

Pogacar spoke on the podium after his win, saying: "Last year I should have written a speech for my first Tour de France victory but I didn't know how to write it.

"So also this year I said, 'OK, I'm going to speak from the heart and say what I have to say'.

"Thank you everybody that came here to support us cyclists through all the three weeks. To the French public and all fans of cycling from the whole world, it is so fantastic racing on the amazing parcours of the Tour this year."

He thanked his team, UAE Team Emirates, for helping him achieve the goals they set out to reach.

"I cannot describe how happy I am to be part of this family, it melts my heart," Pogacar said.

"They were with me every day of the whole year preparing for the Tour. I'm super happy and proud to be part of this team on this journey.

"I'm not going to cry. Thank you everybody. It was a difficult year with COVID and I really hope next year we come here without the masks.

"Of course I cannot forget my family, standing beside me, and my girlfriend and my friends. I hope I've told enough but I'm super happy. Thank you everybody."

Pogacar said it was "time for celebration".

"I will remain motivated in the coming years, but what come next will come next… I’m not stressed about it," Pogacar said, quoted on the Tour's official website.

"It's quite different. Last year, I felt strong, incredible emotions. This year I'm again here, standing atop the podium, but the feelings are quite different."

 

Tour great Eddy Merckx won the general classification five times from 1969 to 1974, and had such a ruthlessness he was nicknamed 'The Cannibal'.

Pogacar does not want to be compared to legends of the sport, insisting he should be allowed to plot his own career path.

"The new Cannibal? I don't like to compare myself to other riders," he said. "Each rider has his own style and personality. Every rider is unique. I don't think there is anything left. I just enjoy life, I work hard, I love cycling – and those are the most important things."

Pogacar did not quite secure a sweep of the Tour honours, with the green jersey – the points classification that rewards the best sprinters – going to 36-year-old Deceuninck-QuickStep star Mark Cavendish.

Cavendish's four stage victories took him level with the record of 34 that Merckx had owned exclusively for over 40 years.

"Ten years later, again with the green jersey, it's fantastic, it feels like getting younger," Cavendish said. "I'm back. It's a dream."

Related items

  • Legendary sprinter Cavendish makes Astana move Legendary sprinter Cavendish makes Astana move

    Mark Cavendish has joined Astana for a 2023 campaign in which he will be hoping to make history at the Tour de France.

    Legendary sprinter Cavendish left Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl last year, but the Brit will continue his illustrious career with Kazakh team Astana.

    The 37-year-old from the Isle of Man was not selected for the 2022 Tour de France, denying him the opportunity to surpass a record tally of 34 stage wins in the most prestigious Grand Tour race that he shares with the great Eddy Merckx.

    Cavendish will have high hopes of taking the record outright this year with his new team.

    He said: "I am really excited for this adventure. I raced with Alexandr Vinokurov for many years, and now I'm racing with his two boys!

    "I remember when they were children the same age as my own, dreaming to be bike racers.

    "Astana is going to be a great place to be successful, with a strong team led by Alexandr, a champion on the bike and a gentleman off the bike.

    "I've enjoyed a long career already, but the joy of riding my bike and the hunger to continue winning are as bright as ever.

    "So I'm looking forward to being part of a successful team, whether working with the team for wins, crossing the line first myself, or cheering on my team-mates. As always, the objective will be for us to stand on the top podium."

    While Cavendish was overlooked for the Tour de France, he was able to win the Milano-Torino as well as Giro d'Italia, Tour of Oman and UAE Tour stages.

  • Tour de France to start in Italy for first time in 2024 as Paris finale changed due to Olympics Tour de France to start in Italy for first time in 2024 as Paris finale changed due to Olympics

    The 2024 edition of the Tour de France will start in Italy for the first time in the race's history, organisers The Amaury Sport Organisation has confirmed.

    Florence will mark the starting point of the 111th edition of the famous competition, to commemorate 100 years since Ottavio Bottecchia became the first Italian won Le Tour.

    After racing to Rimini, further stages from Cesenatico to Bologna and Piacenza to Turin will follow, with the event also set to finish away from Paris for the first time.

    The iconic Champs-Elysees finale will be replaced by a closing stage in Nice due to the 2024 Olympic ceremony occurring in the capital just days later.

    It will also be the first time since 1989 the event has concluded with a time-trial finish, as opposed to the usual procession through the streets of Paris.

    "The Tour has started from all the countries bordering France," said Le Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

    "It has even started six times from the Netherlands, which has no common border with France. But it has never started from Italy.

    "It's an incongruity that will disappear."

    The 2023 edition will begin in Bilbao, Spain on July 1 and finish in Paris 22 days later, with Jonas Vingegaard out to defend his crown.

  • Mathieu van der Poel has common assault convictions overturned Mathieu van der Poel has common assault convictions overturned

    Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has had his convictions for common assault overturned by a judge at Sydney's Downing Centre District Court.

    The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to the common assault of two teenage girls in Sydney on the eve of the UCI Road World Championships finale in September.

    Van der Poel was subsequently charged on two counts after an altercation with the pair, aged 13 and 14, whom he alleges to have been knocking on his hotel room door.

    He was also fined 1,500 AUD, though he appealed both the conviction and fine, and Judge Ian Bourke SC ruled in the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider's favour in Tuesday's hearing.

    The judge said Van der Poel's action had been in "response to annoying and invasive conduct" by the girls.

    Van de Poel's lawyer Michael Bowe told NCA NewsWire: "He didn't need a conviction. He's a dedicated sportsman and cyclist. It's important these matters were dismissed."

    Tour de France and Giro d'Italia stage winner Van der Poel had been among the favourites to win the World Championship prior to dropping out with 230 kilometres to go.

    Belgium's Remco Evenepoel went on to win the competition.

    "I ran the argument on the basis of loss to Mathieu – he had one opportunity in his life to win the world championships and he's lost that opportunity," Bowe added. 

    "He'd trained for that opportunity. He'd let his country down, he'd let his team down."

    Van der Poel has two wins in three cyclo-cross races so far this season, prevailing at the UCI World Cup rounds in Hulst and Antwerp.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.