Tour de France - Stage 21 » Mantes-la-Jolie › Paris, 122km
The INEOS Grenadiers completed a memorable edition of the Tour de France in Paris following a spirited final week of racing.
The team showed impressive strength to reset their goals and attack the final days of racing after team leader Egan Bernal was forced to abandon the race after 16 stages.
Immediately going on the offensive, the Grenadiers showed great determination to enliven the breakaways on four consecutive stages. Persistence ultimately paid off with an emotional victory on stage 18 as Michal Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz took a 1-2 finish.
Carapaz battled back from an unlucky start to the race to produce some tremendous efforts in the third week, going up the road for three days in succession, securing a pair of second places on stages 16 and 18. His efforts in the high mountains also brought the Ecuadorian to within a whisker of winning the polka dot jersey, eventually finishing as runner-up by just eight points.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) edged out the jersey on the way to taking overall victory and the yellow jersey. The Slovenian claimed the lead on the final time trial, ultimately taking a 59-second win over compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Bernal withdrew from the race to recover following time loss on stage 15 that put him out of overall contention. The Colombian spent 10 stages in the top five on the general classification, and is determined to come back even stronger in 2021.
Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Kwiatkowski, Luke Rowe, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle all worked tirelessly across the three weeks, helping Bernal’s GC challenge before seamlessly shifting into aggressive riding targeting the breakaways.
That philosophy continued all the way into Paris, with Kwiatkowski and Amador trying to force their way into a move on the Champs-Elysses. The final stage came down to a bunch sprint, won by Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).