If Tadej Pogačar is not already a two-wheeled machine, he set a new record on Saturday in Japan at the Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old made history on Saturday by becoming the first Tour de France winner to also win an Olympic medal in road racing, when he clinched bronze behind Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) and Wout van Aert (Belgium).
Tour winners have already been on the Olympic podium, including Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour and an Olympic gold medal in the individual time trial in 2012. Jan Ullrich finished second in the 2000 Tour and won the gold in the Olympic road race that summer.
Pogacar is the first to win the Tour and an Olympic medal in the road race the same year.
“I did my best and I’m super happy,” Pogačar said in Tokyo on Saturday. “We checked the course and the final climb. I felt good deep down. In fact, I don’t know what I was thinking when I attacked. I quickly regretted it. But then the group of big favorites formed, and I was pretty happy with the group. I think a solo ride wouldn’t have been a good idea. It would have been too hard. “
– Olympic Games (@Olympics) July 24, 2021
The bronze medal is also Slovenia’s first Olympic medal in all cycling disciplines (road, track, mountain biking and BMX), which is a perfect match for Slovenia’s first yellow jersey.
The stage is only the last for Pogacar, who will not participate in the individual time trial on Wednesday. Slovenia only secured one starting position for the TT, and Primož Roglič – who fell out of the Tour and finished 28th in the road race – will compete on Wednesday.
Read also: What the stars said after a thrilling road race
UAE-Team Emirates officials will decide in the next week whether Pogacar will participate in the Vuelta a España, which kicks off on August 14 in Burgos.
Third overall in 2019, Pogacar would be a favorite for victory if he decided to race the Grand Tour of Spain.
Tour de France vs specific preparation for the Olympic Games
One of the big questions to ask at the Tokyo Games was whether the pros coming out of the Tour de France would be too cooked to be able to run for the medals.
Saturday’s results proved that the Tour remains the best preparation for the Olympic Games.
Eight of the top 10 raced the Tour, with the entire medal podium coming after some very successful editions of the Tour.
It should be noted that 8 of the first 10 (and 8 of the first 8, in fact) in the #Tokyo2020 Men’s road races are those tired and jet-lagged participants of the Tour de France. https://t.co/NuxVpIZ1cR
– Aleksandra Gorska (@miss_gorska) July 24, 2021
Pogacar, the bronze medalist, won his second consecutive Tour. Wout van Aert won three stages before clinching silver, while gold medalist Richard Carapaz finished third overall in the Tour.
Only Adam Yates (Great Britain) and Max Schachmann (Germany), ninth and 10th respectively, did not participate in the Tour.
So much for this notion of jet lag, eh?
Brandon McNulty achieves best American result since 2012
Arizona’s sixth Olympic rookie in the elite men’s road race is USA Cycling’s best result since Taylor Phinney finished fourth in 20212 in London.
Brandon McNulty’s race also made him the ninth elite American male rider to finish in the top 10 in Olympic road competitions since 1984.
Read also: Brandon McNulty lights up Olympic race with sixth place
No American rider has won a medal in the elite men’s road race since Alexi Grewal won gold in Los Angeles.
It looked like McNulty might have a chance at a medal when he and eventual gold medalist Carapaz built up a promising lead. A few things stacked up against McNulty; van Aert opened the chase, Carapaz attacked him with a kicker about 6 km from the finish and McNulty ran out of gas against the group of pursuers.
23 years @BrandonMcNult climbs to a 6th place in his first #OlympicGames!#CyclingRoad | #Tokyo2020 | @Olympic Games | #Olympic Games | #WeChampionCycling https://t.co/AACNPvSIvt pic.twitter.com/MK9HJysoa6
– Cycling in the United States (@usacycling) July 24, 2021
McNulty confirmed his class by staying in the top group, then attempting a surprise attack and still clinging to sixth place.
“Wow. It’s crazy, ”McNulty said. “It’s a great honor for me to be the first big result of the Olympics in a while. It’s super, super big for me.
This is another great result from one of the most promising American talent to emerge over the past decade. Wednesday’s time trial will give him and his USA Cycling teammate Lawson Craddock, 80th on Saturday, a chance to win a medal.
Richard Carapaz on the moon
Carapaz only became Ecuador’s second Olympic medalist when he won the men’s road race on Saturday.
Speed walker Jefferson Pérez won gold and silver in the men’s 20km walk in 1996 and 2008, respectively.
Carapaz, third in the 2021 Tour, is only the second rider to win the Olympic road race and finish on the podium in the Tour de France the same year. Ullrich won gold in 2000, having finished second behind Lance Armstrong in that year’s Tour de France.
“You always have to believe. I have worked so hard to be here, this is a huge time for me.
Richard Carapaz clinched Olympic gold with an all-or-nothing move that cements his status at the top of the professional peloton:#tokyo2020https://t.co/mDZbqNeZGU
– VeloNews (@velonews) July 24, 2021
Wout van Aert continues his close-range streak
You must be feeling bad for Belgian star Wout van Aert.
With Carapaz and Brandon McNulty on the road, van Aert found little help in the chasing group. Why? Well, everyone knows his finishing speed. And maybe everyone was on the rivet.
Without van Aert going out of his way to cut the distance, Pogacar would never have finished third, and McNulty might have had enough in the tank to clinch the money.
Either way, van Aert will win a bittersweet silver medal from Japan. It’s a well-deserved reward for a spectacular race, but it’s another big blow for the Belgian superstar.
In the past year, van Aert has finished second in a growing list of renowned races including the TT and road world titles, the Tour of Flanders and the Olympic road race.
Of course, during this timeline he also won five stages of the Tour de France, the Amstel Gold Race and Gent-Wevelgem. This glass is definitely half full.
In the last ten months, Wout Van Aert has finished second in
ITT World Championships
World Road Racing Championships
Tour of Flanders
Road race at the Olympics
– Café Roubaix (@ CaféRoubaix) July 24, 2021
The elite women’s race on Sunday in a 137 km race of Parc Musashinonomori au Circuit de course international Fuji.
Defending champion Anna van der Breggen leads a powerful Dutch team as a pre-race favorite. USA Cycling begins with a maximum allowance of four riders.
Signature on day 1 of #TokyoOlympics! 👋 Tomorrow is about these ladies as they take on the Women’s Road Race.
– Cycling in the United States (@usacycling) July 24, 2021