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Wout Van Aert stymies Cavendish’s Tour stage record bid on the Champs-Élysées

Tadej Pogačar wins his second yellow jersey

Wout Van Aert earned his third victory of the 2021 Tour de France and second in a row on Sunday’s final stage, stymieing Mark Cavendish’s bid to break Eddy Merckx and his shared record of 34 stage wins. One of four riders to win multiple stages in the 108th edition, Van Aert took a mountain stage, a time trial and a bunch sprint. He now has six victories in three consecutive Tours. Van Aert also finished 19th on GC.

At 22 years of age, Tadej Pogačar becomes the youngest rider to win more than one Tour de France. He joins 12 other riders, including Alberto Contador, Laurent Fignon, Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi, with two yellow jerseys. For the second consecutive year, Pogačar claimed three jerseys: yellow, polka dots and white.

The Course

The first hour or so of the 108.4 km route would be done at an amble, with plenty of time for photos, champagne and the other hallmarks of a procession into Paris. Once in the City of Light, the riders would have eight 6.8 km laps of the Champs-Élysées circuit before the final sprint. It was a hot day to conclude the Tour de France.

The parade began with Pogačar, Jonah Vingegaard in the white jersey, Wout Poels in the polka dot jersey, Mark Cavendish wearing green and most aggressive rider Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels/KTM) riding as one.

UAE-Emirates took a page from Sky-Ineos’ handbook, and wore special white kits with a yellow band across the chest.


Once the riders reached the circuit, the race got down to business, with a couple of breaks dashing free. The second circuit contained the intermediate sprint and it was there that Cavendish buffered his green jersey lead. Of course the Manx Missile had bigger fish to fry.

Just after the peloton heard the bell, and with the breakaway about to be reeled in, Michal Kwiatskowski attacked and was brought back, but it disturbed Deceuninck-Quick Step for a minute. With 2.5 km to go again Quick Step lost its prominence at the front until the red kite.

In a messy sprint, the Belgian was the fastest on the left hand side and Cavendish couldn’t come around him. Van Aert threw the bike, Cavendish, third place, slammed his handlebar in frustration.

2021 Tour de France Stage 21
1) Wout Van Aert (Belgium/Jumbo-Visma) 2:29:37
2) Jasper Philipsen (Belgium/Alpecin-Fenix) s.t.
3) Mark Cavendish (Great Britain/Deceuninck-Quick Step) s.t.
29) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) s.t.

2021 Tour de France Final GC
1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) 82:52:36
2) Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark/Jumbo-Visma) +5:20
3) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Ineos Grenadiers) +7:03
4) Ben O’Connor (Australia/AG2R-Citroën) +10:02
5) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Bora-Hansgrohe) +10:13
6) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +11:43
7) Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan/Astana-Premier Tech) +12:23
8) Guillaume Martin (France/Cofidis) +15:33
9) Pello Bilbao (Spain/Bahrain-Victorious) +16:01
10) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Education-Nippo) +18:34
64) Hugo Houle (Canada/Astana-Premier Tech) +2:40:15
106) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +3:33:42