Tour de France
Slovenian brothers in arms. Christophe Ena/AP

The 2020 Tour de France has been raced and won. Held in exceptional circumstances due to COVID-19, the race itself proved to be similarly outstanding. The autumn weather caused havoc early:

The unusual preparations endured by the riders, as well as a slew of potential contenders recovering from injuries or COVID, led to a slew of new riders coming to the fore.

Here’s a recap on how the various competition winners claimed their crowns.

General Classification (Maillot Jaune/Yellow Jersey)

Winner: Tadej Pogacar (Team UAE-Emirates)

Riding in his first Tour de France, the 21-year-old Slovenian was expected to be a threat to the claim White Jersey of the Best Young Rider Classification but was not supposed to come near claiming Yellow.

Pogacar claimed wins on stage 9 and 15 before risking it all on the stage 20 time trial. He revealed his tactics before the race, which essentially boiled down to go hard or go home. Pogacar, not satisfied with shoring up a brilliant 2nd place on debut, risked potentially dropping out of the top-five to win it all: the risk paid serious dividends.

Unlike compatriot Roglic, Pogacar didn’t have elite support from his team, with his leading support riders in Fabian Aru and Davide Formolo, both out of Le Tour by stage 10. A 21-year-old Tour de France rookie essentially riding on his own, Pogarcar showed remarkable resilience and determination and a tactical nous beyond his years.

A star is born, ladies and gentlemen.

Second place: Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma)

One of the pre-race favorites, Roglic, appeared to have an iron grip on the Maillot Jaune. He took the jersey at the end of stage 9 and, with the help of his elite domestiques, seemed impervious to opposition attacks. The time trial – the Race of Truth – strips away those defenses. Without his team around him, Roglic floundered; an awful time trial saw his lead of close to a minute become a similar deficit.

Despite the late meltdown, Roglic rode a wonderful tour, claiming his best Grand Tour result and securing a 1-2 finish for his native Slovenia.

Third place: Richie Porte (Team Trek-Segafredo)

Lady Luck and the Australian veteran have not always seen eye to eye. The natural heir to 2011 champ Cadel Evans has experienced so much bad luck through his prime riding years: crashes leading to abandonments or lost time, poorly timed punctures, teammates unable to support him. Porte’s chance at a podium in Paris appeared to be past him.

In this tour, Porte still had to overcome a double puncture on stage 18, causing him to lose severe time in the crosswinds of phase 7. But a substantial third week of the tour saw him come into the time trial 99 seconds away from third place. The Tasmanian rode the race of his life to launch himself on to the podium, with almost two and a half minutes to spare from Mikel Landa in the fourth.

Porte summed up his podium place succinctly: “Now I can retire happy”.

Points Classification (Maillot Vert/Green Jersey)

Winner: Sam Bennett (Team Deceuninck-Quick Step)

Slovakian marvel Peter Sagan has dominated this event for so long that it seemed near impossible to see how he could be defeated. Bennett found a weakness in Sagan’s armor while serving as his teammate for six seasons: he came with a plan and implemented it correctly.

Serving as the team leader for the first time in his career, Bennett picked up enough points to stay in the hunt through the first week of the tour before claiming the stage win and the Maillot Vert on stage 10. He wouldn’t relinquish it for the rest of the tour.

He held off Sagan and the fast-finishing Caleb Ewan to claim the perfect double on the final stage: victory on the Champs-Elysees and the top step on the Green Jersey podium.

Sagan finished 54 points behind Bennett, with Italian Matteo Trentin of Team CCC a further 14 points back in third.

Sam Bennett wins on the Champs Elysee.
Bennett celebrates victory. Photo: Thibault Camus/Reuters

Photo Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

King of the Mountains (Maillot a Pois/Polka Dot Jersey)

Winner: Tadej Pogacar

Benoit Cosnefroy (Team AG2R-La Mondiale) held this jersey for the longest time and looked like he would continue the recent French domination of the jersey. However, after losing the lead in the KOM to Pogacar at the end of stage 17, contenders came from everywhere.

Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz of Team INEOS Grenadiers publicly stated his intention of taking the jersey, perhaps in a bid to place pressure on the young Slovenian. Pogacar proved up to the challenge, holding on to beat Carapaz by 8 points. Roglic finished third with 67 points.

Best Young Rider (Maillot Blanc/White Jersey)

Winner: Tadej Pogacar

Pogacar completed his collection by winning the best young rider classification by default – as the overall winner, he was the best youngster in the peloton.

With Pocacar, deposed champion Egan Bernal and other up and coming start like Cosnefroy, Marc Hirschi, Pavel Sivakov Enric Mas, and Mads Pedersen, the Maillot Blanc in next years event, the future of the sport looks to be strong.

Super Combative Prize

Winner: Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb)

This competition, unlike the others, is a subjective award made by the judge’s assessment of who in the course of the entire tour was the most aggressive rider in as far as joining breakaways and making attacks.

The young Swiss Marc Hirschi claimed a stage win on stage 12 and a pair of stage podiums. His constant long-range attacks, breakaways, and thrilling descents characterized a devil-may-care attitude that lit up the tour—a worthy recipient.

Until next year, Bon Velo!

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