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Porte seals podium place as Pogacar rides to Tour de France victory

Bennett became the first Irishman since Sean Kelly in 1989 to win the green jersey for the points classification.

It was an anti-climatic finale on the Champs-Élysées as only 5000 fans were allowed on the famous avenue as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Tadej Pogacar celebrates winning the Tour de France.

Tadej Pogacar celebrates winning the Tour de France.Credit:AP

But it didn’t matter to Pogacar, who had pulled off one the biggest coups in Tour de France history. Despite early setbacks, Pogacar managed to turn the tables and tear apart Roglic’s script.

Pogacar lost key teammates Fabio Aru and Davide Formolo early in the Tour, while Roglic had the ever-present support of Jumbo-Visma, the most formidable outfit in the race.

The Team UAE Emirates rider, however, took his chances when he could, regaining 40 seconds on the Col de Peyresourde in the Pyrenees with an attack Roglic did not cover. The day before, Pogacar had lost 1min 21sec in crosswinds on a flat stage but he was not discouraged.

“If I have the legs, I attack,” he said repeatedly, while Roglic rode conservatively, seemingly content with an advantage that had reached 57 seconds before the time trial.

Sam Bennett leaves Peter Sagan in his wake on the Champs-Élysées.

Sam Bennett leaves Peter Sagan in his wake on the Champs-Élysées.Credit:AP

Ineos-Grenadiers had in previous years used their collective force to choke the opposition – setting a breathtaking pace to prevent attacks – and Jumbo-Visma applied the same tactics this year.

Richie Porte said that plan might have served Pogacar well.

“In some respects, he was lucky that Jumbo-Visma set such a cracking pace on the climbs,” said Porte. “If you’re able to hold the wheel then you’ve got a bit of a free ride.”

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Roglic, whose meltdown on Saturday left him in tears, might never recover from the disappointment of losing the Tour on the last day, but the 30-year-old will be looking for revenge.

“It’s not going to be like that next year. I think Pogacar is going to be a marked man,” said Porte.

Pogacar isn’t the first young bold talent to excite the Tour in recent years.

The 23-year-old Egan Bernal was also widely tipped as a future Tour de France great, but the Colombian appeared way off the pace this year before pulling out with back pains. He could now fall behind Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz in the pecking order at Ineos-Grenadiers.

A yellow jersey win can be a heavy cross to bear.

When Jan Ullrich won the 1997 title, he was also acclaimed as a potential great Tour de France rider, but the German never added to his only triumph.

Only time will tell whether Pogacar can live up to the hype.

Reuters

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