Tadej Pogacar wins second successive Tour de France
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PARIS – Tadej Pogacar won a second successive Tour de France on Sunday as Wout van Aert claimed the final stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Pogacar stole in at the 11th hour to win the 2020 edition, but this year he stamped his authority in the first week and will pull on the yellow jersey beneath the Arc de Triomphe as the undisputed champion aged just 22.
Jumbo's Belgian rider Van Aert stormed past Briton Mark Cavendish to take the 21st stage after also winning a time-trial at Saint-Emilion and a mountain stage at Mont Ventoux.
Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard of Jumbo was a surprising second, while Ineos' Richard Carapaz was third to follow his 2019 triumph on the Giro d'Italia.
Marking the end of the old era 36-year-old Cavendish narrowly missed out on a fifth win on this edition -- and a record 35th ever on the Tour de France -- after squeezing onto the roster at the last minute and winning four of the six stages that ended in a mass bunch sprint.
Pogacar "rode between the raindrops" after surviving a litany of crashes as the Tour embarked from the nation's western tip at the Atlantic port of Brest.
The Slovenian then pulverised his rivals in the first time-trial as the race headed towards the Swiss and Italian border ski resorts where he also held his own.
The UAE Team Emirates leader then produced a pair of joyful mountain victories in the Pyrenees to rubber stamp his status as the best rider on the Tour this year.
He also won the awards for best rider under-25 and the king of the mountains polka-dot jersey, a triple he also achieved on his debut last year.