Pogacar took the Yellow Jersey from his fellow Slovenian with Stage win in the Tour de France Saturday

By Chuck Gibson (Interview quotes provided by Le Tour de France)

INTERNATIONAL (September 19, 2020) – Pogacar left the start house 2nd overall, but win it was all over, he won the Individual Time Trial, took the overall lead, and will wear the Yellow Jersey into Paris for the final State of the 2020 Tour de France.

Tadej Pogacar on the podium with the Yellow Jersey after Stage 20 ITT victory vaults him into 1st Overall in the TdF (Provided)

On a day when champion Individual Time Trial riders were expected to claim the stage victory, Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar shocked everyone with the fastest ride of the day. His time of 00h- 55’-55” was 1’-21” faster than both Tom Dumoulin and Richie Porte who finished second and third with a time of 00h-57’16” (Porte was .58 seconds behind Dumoulin). Pogacar started the day in second place overall needing to make up :57 seconds to catch fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who wore the Yellow Jersey as the overall leader for the 11th day. In a stunning turnaround of leaders, Pogacar finished 1’-56” ahead of Roglic in the time trial earning the top spot overall and taking the Yellow Jersey from his Slovenian friend. Pogacar will ride into Paris on Sunday wearing the Yellow Jersey and holding a :59” lead over Roglic.

“I think I’m dreaming. I feel like my head is exploding. It’s really crazy,” said Pogacar. “I was happy with the second place and now I’m here with the yellow jersey. I don’t know what to say, it’s unbelievable.”

Pogacar expressed his pride and thank to his team for their big effort over the three weeks of the Tour.

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar about to cross the finish in the Individual Time Trial winning Stage 20 and taking over the Yellow Jersey (Provided)

“It was not just me racing today,” Pogacar said. “It’s the fruit of a team work from the day we reckoned the course. I knew every corner. I knew where to accelerate. After the great job of my staff and team mates, I just had to push on the pedals.”

Pogacar said the first thing he wanted to do after winning the ITT and taking over the Yellow Jersey was call his girlfriend. I’m sure he did. I’m not sure what Primoz Roglic wanted to do after finishing 5th in the ITT and giving up the Yellow Jersey, but, after taking a moment to recover and gather his emotions, he went straight over to congratulate Pogacar with a hug and a pat on the back. Pogacar also said he felt sorry for his friend and fellow countrymen Primoz Roglic who had such a good Tour de France wearing the Yellow Jersey for 11 days until Saturday.

Primoz Roglic after a fifth place finish in the ITT Saturday cost him the Yellow Jersey and the Tour de France Victory (Provided)

“His team did an amazing job and he had a bad day today,” said Pogacar. “For me, to wear the yellow jersey on the final day, it’s just a dream and a big achievement. It’s amazing. Actually, my dream was not to win the Tour de France, it was only to be on the Tour de France. If you ask me in one week or one month, I will still not believe that I’ve won the Tour de France.”

It was an incredible day of racing for Slovenian bicycle racing fans as their two countryman raced to become the first-ever Slovenian rider to win the Tour de France. 

They may watch a whole lot more of the same in years to come as Tadej Pogacar is also the youngest rider, at 21 years of age, to win the Tour de France since 1904. He’ll be 22 on Monday – what an unbelievable birthday gift for the talented rider. On the other hand, Richie Porte was riding in his 10th Tour de France with dreams of earning having his picture taken on the final podium in France. His time of 00h-57’-16” not only earned him a spot on the podium for the Stage Saturday, but was fast enough to overtake Miguel Angel Lopez for third place overall and a dream-come-true spot on the final podium in France. Porte will have the photo he dreamed of hanging on the wall at home.

The final ride into Paris and the Champs-Elysees ends the 2020 Tour de France. It promises to be a grand celebration for Tadej Pogacar and Slovenia. That won’t be all, there will be a race to the finish there too. Just watch.

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