Five things to know about Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar

Published September 21, 2020, 3:57 PM

by Agence-France-Presse

Tadej Pogacar
Team UAE Emirates rider Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey celebrates on the podium after winning the 107th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, after the 21st and last stage of 122 km between Mantes-la-Jolie and Champs Elysees Paris, on September 20, 2020. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

The unexpected winner of the 2020 Tour de France Tadej Pogacar sealed a dramatic victory on stage 20 to also take the lead of the race itself.

He climbed to the top step of the podium as champion in Paris on Sunday on the eve of his 22nd birthday.

Here AFP Sport takes a look at some of the factors that led to the 21-year-old’s success:

Lifetime passion

“I started watching the Tour de France back in 2009 or 2010, following Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, spending all day in front of television and then going riding myself,” the Ljubljana native said on Saturday after pulling off one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of cycling’s most famous event.

Youngest winner in over a century

In 1904 Frenchman Henri Cornet won the Tour de France at the age of 19, and remains the youngest ever winner of the race.

Pogacar becomes the second youngest champion after his 2020 triumph at the age of 21. He was born September 21, 1998.

Track record

Pogacar only joined the elite level of cycling last year and was thrown in at the deep end when UAE Emirates decided he could race a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana.

He won three stages on the Vuelta and ended an impressive third place behind Primoz Roglic and Alejandro Valverde.

As with the Tour de France in 2020, he won three stages in Spain and took the best overall young rider’s jersey.

No doping history

While Pogacar’s ascent of the Planche des Belles Filles climb on Saturday gave sceptics food for thought, his UAE Emirates team has never been connected with even a trace of a doping scandal.

Before Pogacar’s arrival, UAE recruited Dan Martin, the Irish all-rounder with an immaculately clean record. 

Previous time-trial win over Roglic

Pogacar’s staggering win over his compatriot Primoz Roglic on stage 20 of the Tour was not a complete surprise.

Earlier in the season the Slovenian national time-trial championships were raced over a similar course, with the climb first and the rolling section afterwards however.

Pogacar changed bikes while Roglic did not, with the younger man taking victory over the much shorter course by a slender nine seconds at the finish line.