There are 21 stages of this race. Some of them are in the mountains, some are time trials and others are considered hilly. Between the 21 stages it has covered just over 2,100 miles this year. Sometimes riders face rain and headwinds on every stage making stage victories even more difficult. After each stage, the leader holds the yellow jersey, which means that he currently occupies the first place of the general.
Tadej Pogacar was the winner of this year’s Tour, which he won on the eve of his 22nd birthday. Pogacar is from Slovenia and represented the United Arab Emirates team. Pogacar is no stranger to winning cycling events, having won the Tour of California in 2019 at age 20.
While Pogacar had an amazing experience this year being the winner, two other riders who I thought were very competitive were Richie Porte and Wout Van Aert.
Porte is from Australia and finished third overall, just three and a half minutes behind Pogacar. He represented Team Trek-Segafredo. While Porte did not achieve stage victories this year, he still managed to compete at a high level and landed a podium place on the final day of the event in Paris.
Van Aert is a Belgian cyclist and finished in 20th place overall in this year’s event, representing Team Jumbo-Visma. While 20th place might not be a good finish, Van Aert has won two Tour stages this year, including stages five and seven.
Van Aert is no stranger to the World Cycling Championships. He was the winner for three consecutive years of an event called The Men’s Elite Race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
I admire what these athletes do and how strong they are mentally and physically. It doesn’t matter where you walk in. What matters is having the honor of participating in an event that few can say they attended. I look forward to the Tour de France 2021 with great hopes and great anticipation.
Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.