It wasn't to be Mark Cavendish's day as Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) showed again his phenomenal ability on a bike by winning on the Champs Élysées. The day did belong to Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) taking his second Tour de France.
Saturday's time trial went to Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert, taking his second 2021 Tour stage victory after the Mont Ventoux win. His teammate Jonas Vingegaard was second on the stage and held his runner-up place overall. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely to make sure of his overall victory in Paris on Sunday.
Two stages in a row and the King of the Mountains jersey to add to the yellow and the white, yes, that's the Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) 2021 Tour domination. In a repeat of the finalé of stage 17, the Slovenian jumped in the last uphill metres for the stage win... and made it look easy.
After a game of cat and mouse between Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers), the yellow jersey despatched his closest rivals for the stage win on the Col du Portet. Vingegaard was second and now has 4 seconds on Carapaz on the overall standings.
Dylan Teuns may have won stage 8, but the 'hero of the day' and maybe the 2021 Tour de France was Tadej Pogačar. The young Slovenian crossed from what was left of the peloton to the front of the race, a gap of over 6 minutes. Teuns was the only rider he didn't catch before the finish in Le Grand-Bornand.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) rode the time trial of his career to hold on to his yellow jersey by 8 seconds from stage winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). Many of the top GC men kept their overall dreams alive, but there were some disappointments.
The 'new guard' has definitely taken over as Tour winner Tadej Pogačar showed how to finish off a monument on Sunday. World champion Julian Alaphilippe and fellow Frenchman, and recent revelation, David Gaudu joined the Slovenian on the podium, leaving the 'old men' off the top steps. Spencer Martin Breaks-down 2021 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
A crazy final 30 kilometres brought five men to the fore to sprint it out for the Liège victory. The five were of top quality: World champion Julian Alaphilippe, four time Liège winner Alejandro Valverde, Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, French hope David Gaudu and Canadian Michael Woods. It was the Slovenian 'wonder boy' Pogačar who disappointed the others in Liège.
There was little or no chance of seeing a top race in 2020, but before 'lockdown' our man is Spain, Alastair Hamilton caught the mountainous stage 4 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. He didn't make the ultra-steep summit finish, but there was still a lot to take in 'Roadside'.