World Slovenia celebrates likely 1-2 Tour de France victory
Tour de France 2020 schedule: Start time, dates, live stream, route, how to watch, TV coverage, highlights
The 2020 Tour de France begins on Saturday, August 29 through September 20. The three-week long cycling event was originally scheduled to take place from June 27 to July 19 but was postponed because of the pandemic. This year marks the 107th edition of the event and the first time since the end of World War II that the race is not taking place in July. The 2020 Tour also features 12 new sites and stage cities indicated with an asterisk in the list for the 2020 Tour de France schedule below.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Just minutes after two Slovenian riders effectively sealed their first and second places in the Tour de France on Saturday, the president of Slovenia declared it a historic day for the tiny Alpine nation.
In a stunning climax to cycling's most prestigious race, Tadej Pogacar crushed his older, fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic in the last stage before the largely ceremonial finish in Paris on Sunday.
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Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar lead the Tour de France going into the deciding time trial. Peter Sagan's green jersey streak appears finished.After Soren Kragh Andersen of Denmark won Friday’s 19th stage of 21, where the overall leaders finished together, eyes turn to Saturday’s 22-mile individual time trial — otherwise known as the race of truth (6:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold).
“It’s unimaginable,” Slovenian President Borut Pahor said. “I wouldn’t believe it if I didn't see it. “Both Tadej and Primoz deserve only admiration.”
After the crucial stage on Saturday, Pahor hung a yellow flag on the presidential palace in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in the color of the jersey worn by the overall Tour leader.
“Today’s race is huge reason for national happiness and pride,” Pahor said.
The win all but guarantees that Pogacar will become the youngest post-World War II winner in cycling’s showcase race and make the two Slovenians 1-2 in the overall standings.
The Tour has gripped Slovenes since Roglic won Stage 4, then became the first Slovenian rider to wear the yellow jersey after Stage 9.
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Their race within a race has seen thousands of Slovenes wearing yellow jerseys, and wishing coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions weren’t preventing them from being in Paris on Sunday.
Pogacar will roll into the French capital on Sunday, the eve of his 22nd birthday, with a lead of 59 seconds over Roglic in what is traditionally a ceremonial stage.
Pogacar was outstanding Saturday in an uphill time trial, devouring the 57-second lead that had made Roglic look impregnable before the showdown.
Pogacar rides to victory at COVID-defying Tour de France
PARIS (AP) — Riding high on a performance for the ages, 21-year-old Tour de France rookie Tadej Pogacar was cruising into Paris with the race leader's iconic yellow jersey Sunday, on his way to becoming the youngest post-war winner of the showpiece event that braved, and overcame, France’s worsening coronavirus epidemic. On the 21st and final stage, a traditional procession where only riders not in the running for the podium chase the prestige of the stage victory in the finishing sprint to the line, the Tour was celebrating multiple victories.
Pogacar will be the first rider from Slovenia to win the Tour.
Much of the nation of just two million people, known more for its alpine skiers, ski jumpers and basketball players than cyclists, came to a standstill on Saturday as it watched the crucial stage.
Most Slovenes were convinced — wrongly — that the much more experienced Roglic was likely to come out as the winner.
Appearing to defy coronavirus gathering rules, Pogacar’s home village celebrated the victory.
The mayor of Komenda, Stanislav Poglajen, said he congratulated his parents.
“For a week, I was on the verge of a heart attack,” said Poglajen. “At the beginning of the race, I didn’t believe that Tadej can make it. Primoz was so strong during previous races." The mayor added that “after 15 minutes” he saw "how strong Tadej is.”
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Born just outside Komenda, north of Ljubljana, cycling was not Pogacar’s favorite sport. He liked soccer instead, but cycling appeared almost by accident as his elder brother started training with a local club.
“I immediately wanted to imitate my brother, but unfortunately they didn’t have such a small bike for me,” Pogacar said on his website.
However, that did not stop him and he hasn’t looked back since his first race in 2008.
AP writer Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia
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