From 108e Tour de France, which ended on Sunday July 18 on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, we will retain two dominations. First of all that of the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), author of the 2020-2021 double, who, from the time trial in Laval (Mayenne), the 5e step, knocked out the competition. Winner of the last two days in the Pyrenees, he has monopolized the distinctive jerseys: the leader’s yellow in the general classification, the best youngster’s white and the best climber’s polka-dot one.

Of course, one could argue that his main rivals announced – his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), runner-up in 2020, or the Welshman Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers), winner in 2018 -, weakened by the falls of the first days , were not at the rendezvous. The first dropped out before the 9th stage; the second finished at more than two hours de Pogacar after serving the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (3e at 7 min 3 s), the only member of the British formation not to have prematurely sank in general.

But the insolent ease of the young Slovenian, already pointed out last year, is it only linked to these racing hazards? So today in the peloton are there so few riders capable of competing with him?

Also read the story: Tadej Pogacar, “a pro who rides with cadets”

Another indisputable domination: that of the Briton Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in the sprint. It is undoubtedly linked to sparse competition. From the third day, the Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) was forced to throw in the towel after a terrible fall in the final in Pontivy (Morbihan), in which was taken another serious candidate for the points classification, the Slovakian Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), who, injured, will also leave the race.

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The “ghost” – he had not won on the Grande Boucle for five years – also benefited from a team of impressive strength, which allowed him to win the green jersey and equal the record of thirty-four stage victories in the Tour de France until then held by Belgian legend Eddy Merckx.

Read also the portrait: Mark Cavendish or the return of the prodigal son

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) deprived him of a fourth victory on this Tour by removing the massive sprint on the Champs-Elysées – the Belgian champion also won in the mountains, for the double ascent of Mont Ventoux and during the time trial in Saint-Emilion.

The peloton at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, during the final stage of the Tour de France 2021, on July 18.

A “difficult” edition

We will especially remember from this edition that it was, for many runners, ” The hardest “ they have never known, as the Flemish adventurer Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) underlined, who has never been able to slip into the slightest breakaway. At the end of his ninth round, he confided that it would probably be his last, letting go that there was no longer his ” square “. That says a lot about the pace imposed in turn by six teams: UAE Emirates, Jumbo-Visma, Bahrain Victorious, Alpecin-Fenix, Deceuninck-Quick Step and Ineos-Grenadiers.

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