You aren’t supposed to win the Tour de France without a good team, certainly not with a round-tubed road bike that is no match for your competitors’ superior machines. You aren’t supposed to win as a 21-year-old, in your first shot at the race. You aren’t supposed to win the 21-stage Tour on the last day, overcoming a huge deficit. But Tadej Pogacar broke all the rules to become the youngest winner of the world’s toughest sporting event since World War II.
What is the Tour de France ?
Condensed to its basic premise, the Tour de France is a simple athletic contest: The cyclist who completes a strenuous and often dangerous course of more than 2,000 miles (~3,200 km) in the lowest total time wins.
- Yet, the event is so much more. History, tradition, and racing lore, the Tour defines endurance and global sportsmanship. Unlike professional sports played in stadiums and arenas filled with fans who’ve paid for tickets, the Tour stands one in the sports world. Its arena and past countries’ borders, and for fans, it’s the best bargain in sports, because it’s free.
- For riders, it’s a job with an equally simple equation. While progressing along the course like chess pieces on wheels, riders face the limits of endurance. They battle lousy weather and attempt to outwit and outrace each other while using the same strategy — conserve energy as much as possible for the times when it’s needed the most. It’s typically held in July, but delays brought by the corona-virus pandemic has shifted the 2020 Tour finish date on September 20. It’s also suggested that the 2020 race will be kept inside French territory, and there will be no stages abroad.
Here’s the reason why this win is historic:
The concluding stages of the Tour de France were supposed to be a clear sweep Primoz Roglic who had an insurmountable lead in the race. Well, almost insurmountable.
- The procession became a cliffhanger as Tadej Pogacar blew away Primoz Roglic Tour de France hopes in the Vosges to become the youngest overall winner this century, after storming to an extraordinary stage win at La Planche des Belles Filles. What had been expected to be a routine time trial for Roglic, on the eve of the processional final stage to the Champs-Élysées, became a humiliation as he conceded almost two minutes to his 21-year-old compatriot and lost the yellow jersey.
- Tadej Pogacar will be confirmed as the youngest winner since World War II at the end of the largely processional stage to Paris on Sunday, September 20. This is one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the race history. The UAE-Team Emirates rider overhauled a 57-second deficit to Roglic, who was thought to be a far stronger rider on stage 20’s time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles. It will be a first Grand Tour victory for Slovenian Pogacar, who took the yellow jersey from compatriot Roglic after he held it for 13 days.
Concerns regarding the COVID-19
- As Slovenian fans made their peace with the outcome of this year’s race, the Peloton Rollsinto Paris having accomplished what seasoned race-watchers considered impossible, three weeks of racing without any riders testing positive. This year, the testing protocols did not focus only on the illicit use of performance enhancement, but instead on coronavirus, which could have brought the race to a juddering halt at any moment. Miraculously, the Tour de COVID bubble did not burst.
- Decried by some as irresponsible, but championed by others as an essential part of French tradition, the Tour of OCD, so-called due to the copious use of hand gel, shrugged off the predictions of doom — “a recipe for disaster”, said the global health expert Devi Sridhar – to fulfil Tour. On September 19, nothing could stop Pogacarthe chest-beating assertion of the race director, Christian Prudhomme, that “only wars stop the from chasing down his impossible dream.”
If you can keep your head when all about you.
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:Rudyard Kipling