Bradley Wiggins has called Tadej Pogacar a “class act” who could win seven Tour titles after the Slovenian coasted around the 30.8km Stage 20 time trial on Saturday to all but defend his overall title.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the stage in a time of 35’53” with Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick Step) second and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) third.
Pogacar - sitting on an insurmountable-looking 5’45” lead over second-placed Vingegaard in the GC heading into the penultimate day of riding - finished eighth after producing a restrained, controlled ride. He goes into Sunday’s processional stage to Paris with 5’20” advantage over the Dane.
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Barring incident or accident, Pogacar will win a second Tour aged just 22 and Wiggins said post-race that the Slovenian is a rider of rare talent.
“It's been a while since we have seen someone as talented as him,” Wiggins told Bernie Eisel at the finish.
He's on the verge of winning a second Tour de France at such a young age. He looks beautiful on the bike.
- Pogacar on cusp of Tour double after risk-free ITT
- Stage 20 – As it happened – Van Aert wins ITT as Pogacar all but seals Tour win
The UAE-Team Emirates rider only soared into yellow on Stage 20 of the 2020 edition of the race following a spectacular implosion from Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma). But he has been in the maillot jaune since the start of Stage 9 of this year’s race.
And Wiggins has backed him to dominate the sport moving forward.
“He's won this Tour by over five minutes, [and it is] seven minutes to [Richard] Carapaz,” added the 2012 Tour de France winner.
They are big time gaps and he could dominate this sport. We said it before that [Egan] Bernal could win seven. But this kid really could because he's backed it up. I think it's harder to win your second Tour than your first.
“He's come back and he's defending his title with class, and he's picked up where he left off last year on La Planche des Belles Filles. He is a class act. Brilliant.”
Sunday’s stage will be a processional jaunt into Paris ahead of a showdown on the Champs-Elysees, where Mark Cavendish will aim for a 35th Tour stage win to move one clear of Eddy Merckx on the all-time list.
Highlights: Van Aert wins stage as Pogacar all but seals yellow jersey with polished ITT performance
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