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Tour de France 2020
Internet issues at home therefore no post hopefully back later today
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Good day for Ineos the day Bernal abandons baring a miricle Roglic will win this, been some unung heroes in the Tour those workhorses who have done the hardwork for the GC guys, sadly due to working late tomorrow and cricket Saturday will be recorded highlights from now on in, so it is Adieu to the real live action and thank you, it's been great. Just the tour of Italy and Spain to go. Wonderful

Michal Kwiatkowski led a superb Ineos Grenadiers one-two on stage 18 to help salvage their Tour de France as Primoz Roglic took a step closer to the title.

Poland's Kwiatkowski and team-mate Richard Carapaz crossed the line arm-in-arm after riding away from the rest of the field on a tough mountain stage.

Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team held off any attacks as he maintained his 57-second lead with three stages to go.

Britain's Adam Yates slipped from fifth to seventh overall.

Former world champion Kwiatkowki's first ever individual Grand Tour stage victory capped a strong showing by Ineos since defending champion Egan Bernal dropped out of contention, before abandoning after stage 16.

The British team have been active in the breakaways, with Carapaz coming close on both stage 16 and 17, before Kwiatkowski secured their first win of the 2020 Tour.

"That was some day - I can't describe how grateful I am to the whole team and Richard. I will never forget that," said Kwiatkowski.

"I've had some nice moments in cycling but that was something new. I had goosebumps for the final kilometres because I knew we were going to make it. It was incredible."

Ineos salvage their Tour
Despite a very successful career that includes victories in Milan-San Remo, the Amstel Gold Race and Strade Bianche twice, a Grand Tour stage win had eluded Kwiatkowski, with the 30-year-old having been a crucial support rider to Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Bernal since joining Team Sky in 2016.

He and Carapaz had a lead of four minutes heading into the final 10km, leaving them plenty of time to celebrate and decide who would take the win in La Roche-sur-Foron, with Carapaz just squeezing his brake at the last moment to ensure Kwiatkowski got it.

Carapaz had gone clear with Marc Hirschi over the first climb of the day as they battled for mountains classification points before Kwiatkowski, Pello Bilbao and Nicolas Edet joined them on the second climb.

Edet slipped back and Hirschi crashed, before remounting, descending the Col des Saisies, before the Ineos duo dropped Bilbao on the final climb.

Last year's Giro d'Italia champion Carapaz also took the polka dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification from Tadej Pogacar, who remains second overall on general classification.

The Ecuadorian leads Pogacar by eight points in that competition, with 12 points maximum left on offer.

Roglic nearly there
As the final mountain stage, this was the last realistic opportunity for any of Roglic's rivals to take back considerable time on the Slovenian, but he came through unscathed.

Friday's stage 19 should see the GC contenders finish together and Sunday's final stage is a procession into Paris where tradition dictates the race leader is not attacked.

Saturday's individual mountain time trial culminates in a climb up La Planche des Belles Filles but, as an impressive time trialist and climber, Roglic will be confident he already has enough of a lead.

Again Roglic was well supported, with Pogacar unable to launch an attack on the final climb up the punishing Plateau des Glieres before the compatriots sprinted to fourth and fifth respectively after Roglic's team-mate Wout van Aert had neutralised the four bonus seconds for third.

Mikel Landa briefly went clear as his Bahrain McLaren team again set a high pace but with more success than on stage 17 as they dropped Rigoberto Uran and Yates, who finished over two minutes down, allowing Landa to move up to fifth overall.

Richie Porte suffered a puncture on a gravel section after the top of the Glieres but managed to chase back on to keep hold of fourth overall.

Stage 18 result
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Ineos Grenadiers) 4hrs 47mins 33secs

2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) Same time

3. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 51secs

4. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 53secs

5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

6. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +1min 54secs

7. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) Same time

8. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren)

9. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain McLaren)

10. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

General classification after stage 18
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 79hrs 45mins 30secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +57secs

3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 27secs

4. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 06secs

5. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +3mins 28secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 19secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +5mins 55secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +6mins 05secs

9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +7mins 24secs

10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +12mins 12secs
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Really chuffed for three special riders today - Carapaz who was in the breakaway for the 3rd stage in a row (surely a GC winner in the next 2 or 3 years), Kwiatowski who has been a perfect domestique for Sky and Ineos during the past 5 or 6 years (a big factor in GC wins for Froome, Thomas and Bernal) and Porte who recovered after yet another "incident" (a puncture on the gravel section while in contention with the other GC leaders, but still caught them up).

No predictions for tomorrow though after yesterday's pathetic attempt!
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Have to say some of the art work they have done on the fields borders on the absolutely brilliant

Soren Kragh Andersen claimed his second win of the Tour de France with another shrewd late solo attack on stage 19.

Team Sunweb's Andersen, 26, attacked from a break 16km out and powered to the line in Champagnole, 53 seconds ahead of Luka Mezgec in second.

Ireland's Sam Bennett won his duel with Peter Sagan and looks set to take the green jersey, leading by 55 points with two stages remaining.

Primoz Roglic comfortably retained his 57-second lead in the yellow jersey.

The Slovenian will win his first Tour title should he remain in the lead following Saturday's mountain time trial, with tradition dictating the yellow jersey is not attacked on the final, processional stage into Paris on Sunday.

Having won stage 14 with a similar solo move, Kragh Andersen is the fourth rider in this year's Tour to win two stages after Wout van Aert, Caleb Ewan and Tadej Pogacar, who remains second overall.

The Dane never looked back after kicking away from an elite 12-man group that included Bennett and Sagan, only letting up inside the final kilometre after screaming at a TV motorbike for a time check to ensure his lead was insurmountable.

"I have to say that, in the last kilometres, I was screaming in pure disbelief," he said.

"I've got two stage wins on the same Tour de France - it's incredible. I'm speechless.

"I was in the mix with some of the best riders of the world for this type of race and I honestly didn't know how to beat them as I was on my limit too.

"But then I realised that, if I managed somehow to get a small gap, it may enable me to pull it off and that's exactly what happened. This is a memory I will carry in my mind for the rest of my life."

It was another impressive tactical display by Sunweb, who have now won three stages in this Tour.

After the breakaway was caught at 35km to go, the German team initially tried to keep the race together for their sprinter Cees Bol by using Kragh Andersen and Nikias Arndt to mark any attacks.

But once it became clear the peloton would not catch the lead group, they adjusted superbly, with Kragh Andersen catching out and riding away from fine one-day riders such as Greg van Avermaet, Oliver Naesen and Sagan.

The group could not get organised behind and when Britain's Luke Rowe launched a late counter-attack, it was already in vain, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider eventually coming home seventh.

Bennett appeared content to mark record, seven-time green jersey winner Sagan instead of chasing his second stage win of the race.

The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider beat the Slovak at both the intermediate sprint and at the finish to add three points to his lead in the points classification.

There are a maximum of 90 points on offer remaining in the race, although it is highly unlikely Sagan or Bennett will take any points in Saturday's time trial by finishing in the top 15 on the stage.

That leaves 70 points on the final stage and even if Sagan were to win maximum points, Bennett just needs to collect 16 - the equivalent of finishing fifth on the stage - to ensure he becomes only the second Irishman after Sean Kelly to win the green jersey.

Stage 19 result
1. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den/Team Sunweb) 5hrs 36mins 33secs

2. Luka Mezgec (Slo/Mitchelton-Scott) +53secs

3. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek-Segafredo) Same time

4. Greg van Avermaet (Bel/CCC Team)

5. Oliver Naesen (Bel/AG2R La Mondiale)

6. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Team Sunweb)

7. Luke Rowe (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +59secs

8. Sam Bennett (Ire/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +1min 02secs

9. Peter Sagan (Svk/Bora-Hansgrohe) Same time

10. Matteo Trentin (Ita/CCC Team)

General classification after stage 19
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) 83hrs 29mins 41secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) +57secs

3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +1mins 27secs

4. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 06secs

5. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +3mins 28secs

6. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +4mins 19secs

7. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +5mins 55secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +6mins 05secs

9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +7mins 24secs

10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +12mins 12secs
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Tadej Pogacar is set to win the Tour de France ahead of strong favourite Primoz Roglic in one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the race's history.

Pogacar, 21, will be confirmed as the youngest winner for 110 years at the end of Sunday's largely processional stage to Paris.

The UAE-Team Emirates rider overhauled a 57-second deficit to Roglic, who was thought to be a far stronger rider on Stage 20's time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles.

It will be a first Grand Tour victory for Slovenian Pogacar, who took the yellow jersey from compatriot Roglic after he had held it for 13 days.

Pogacar is now 59 seconds ahead of Roglic at the end a day of drama reminiscent of the 1989 Tour, when Greg LeMond unexpectedly overhauled Laurent Fignon in a final-day time trial to win by eight seconds.

Richie Porte of Trek-Segafredo will be on the podium in Paris, taking third, three minutes and 30 seconds down.

Pogacar won the stage, 1min 21secs ahead of Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team-mate Tom Dumoulin. Porte climbed to third overall after finishing in third place on the stage.

Britain's Adam Yates of Michelton-Scott will finish ninth in the general classification, 9mins 25secs behind the winner.

Relive stunning time-trail stage as it happened
What happened to Roglic?
Roglic has looked imperious throughout the three-week race thanks to support from his powerful team, supported by some of the sport's best riders, including Dumoulin, Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss.

The 36km stage from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles was a challenging course that finished, unusually for time trial, with a category 1 climb. Roglic, 30, was considered a far better time trailist than Pogacar, and began the stage strongly.

But Roglic hit trouble at the changeover from super-fast specialist time-trial bikes to more a conventional road machine before the climb, struggling to clip into his pedals, wobbling when being pushed away and never seeming to find his typical rhythm.

Roglic, who claimed his first Grand Tour victory at last year's Vuelta a Espana, looked desperate as he crossed the line, his helmet pushed upwards and slightly lop-sided, knowing already he had lost the race.

Desperation turned to confusion and dejection as he sat on the ground in his full yellow skinsuit, trying to comprehend how he had committed one of modern cycling's biggest chokes.

From a distant second, Pogacar takes it all
Roglic had been favourite to win the 107th edition of cycling's greatest race, alongside defending champion Egan Bernal of Ineos Grenadiers.

However, Bernal abandoned the race before Stage 17 following a disastrous climb up the Grand Colombier on Stage 15, where he cracked and lost more than seven minutes to Roglic.

It was one of the biggest downturns in form for a defending champion in recent history, and put an end to Ineos' record of winning every Tour since 2015, four of which were as Team Sky.

Ineos looked set to have something to celebrate as they tried to seal the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey through their second protected rider Richard Carapaz.

Despite 2019 Giro d'Italia winner Carapaz's attempts to deliberately ride a slow first section before blasting up the mountain, Pogacar's epic performance eclipsed him and he took the jersey.

It is the second of three jerseys Pogacar will claim at this year's race - he will also pick up the young riders' white jersey.

In total Pogacar picks up prize money of 500,000 euros for the yellow jersey, 25,000 euros for the King of the Mountains award, and a further 20,000 euros for being the best placed young rider.
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Roglic looked absolutely knackered
Have you heard about the news on Mizar 5
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Absolutely phenomenal performance from Pogacar.
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And there it was gone, eight times looking at Joan of Arc's golden arse, two weeks to the Giro supposed best do some work on house and garden now, the joy

Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar confirmed his victory as the second youngest Tour de France champion in history after Sam Bennett won the final sprint in Paris.

Pogacar, 21, overhauled long-term race leader Primoz Roglic with a stunning time trial win on Saturday to claim the yellow jersey on his Tour debut.

With the race leader not challenged on the final stage, Pogacar finished comfortably in the peloton.

A jubilant Bennett crossed the line ahead of World Champion Mads Pedersen.

Bennett secured victory in the points classification to become only the second Irishman to win the green jersey, Sean Kelly winning four from 1982 to '89.

Roglic, 30, finished 59 seconds back in second after having held the yellow jersey for 13 days, while Australia's Richie Porte, 35, claimed his first Grand Tour podium finish in third, three minutes 30 seconds down.

Britain's Adam Yates, who held the yellow jersey for four days before Roglic took it on stage nine, ended ninth overall, 9mins 25secs behind.

"This is incredible, standing here in Paris on the top step of the podium," said Pogacar, draped in the Slovenian flag as his parents watched on.

"I never thought I would be here. It's been an amazing three-week adventure.

"I have to thank everyone who's been involved in the preparation for the race, everyone in my team and my family."

Pogacar, who is the first Slovenian winner and first champion on debut since Laurent Fignon in 1983, won three stages in total and also won the polka dot jersey as king of the mountains and the white jersey as the best young rider.

The legendary Eddy Merckx, who won a joint-record five titles, is the only other rider to win three jerseys in the same Tour. Merckx won the yellow, green and combination jerseys in 1969, before the polka dot and white jerseys were introduced.

Pogacar, who turns 22 on Monday, is the youngest Tour champion since France's Henri Cornet was controversially awarded the second ever title in 1904 at the age of 19 after the initial top four riders were disqualified.

It is a first Tour win for UAE Team Emirates, in either their current guise or as former outfit Lampre, and ends a run of five straight titles for British team Ineos, four of which were as Team Sky.

Pogacar delivers on early promise
Pogacar may have been unfamiliar to casual cycling fans before this Tour but he has been a huge talent since junior level, winning the 2018 Tour de l'Avenir - a prestigious under-23 race whose winners regularly go on to Grand Tour success.

After turning professional in 2019, he won the Tour of California to become the youngest winner of a World Tour stage race before winning three stages and claiming third overall at last year's Vuelta a Espana, which was won by Roglic.

Even so, Pogacar was seen as an outside bet to challenge favourites Roglic and 2019 champion Egan Bernal for the delayed 2020 Tour, especially with a weaker team compared to Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers.

His team was weakened further after former Vuelta winner Fabio Aru and Davide Formolo abandoned, meaning Pogacar had only David de la Cruz for support in the mountains and was often isolated. However, he rode a courageous and canny race to surpass his rivals.

He lost over a minute to Roglic after being caught out in the crosswinds on stage seven but responded the next day to take 40 seconds back, before superbly winning stages nine and 15 just ahead of Roglic to take bonus seconds that reduced the gap to 40 seconds.

Bernal cracked on stage 15 to drop out of contention - later abandoning before stage 17 - to leave the two Slovenians to battle for the title.

Roglic, supported by an all-star team including former Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, Sepp Kuss and Wout van Aert, expertly controlled the race and seemed to have made a decisive blow on stage 17 as he distanced Pogacar.

Pogacar did not panic and limited his losses to 17 seconds, but, after failing to cut the deficit in the remaining mountain stages, seemed to have left too much to do in the time trial to overtake Roglic, a former world time trial silver medallist.

Yet Roglic had his worst day on the worst day possible and Pogacar produced his greatest to triumph in one of the most astonishing finishes to any Tour.

Bennett ends Sagan's green dominance
Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider Bennett, 29, is the first Irishman to win a Tour jersey since the great Kelly won the last of his four green jerseys in 1989.

Bennett, riding his first Tour since 2016, left Sagan's team Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of last year partly out of frustration at being overlooked for the Tour squad as they focused on Sagan.

Sagan has dominated the points classification since his debut in 2012, winning every year expect 2017 when he was disqualified for his part in a crash involving Mark Cavendish.

But it was soon clear an out-of-form Sagan would struggle to win for a record-extending eighth time this year, with the Slovak unable to match the fastest sprinters in bunch finishes and lacking opportunities to get up the road to take points his rivals could not.

After Sagan and Bennett exchanged the jersey in the first week, Bennett took it back with his first Tour stage win on stage 10, before Sagan lost crucial points by being relegated for a collision with Van Aert on stage 11.

Sagan dropped Bennett on stage 14 to cut the gap, but Bennett rode superbly in the final week, marking Sagan and using his superior speed to beat him at most intermediate sprints and stage finishes.

Bennett led by 55 points going into the final stage and took 11 more unopposed by Sagan at the intermediate sprint to establish an insurmountable lead before extending his final advantage to 96 points at the finish with his second stage win, as Sagan finished third.

"I never thought I'd ever be able to win this stage and to do it in green is so special," said Bennett.

"It's so amazing this feeling, I just can't thank everyone enough. All the suffering through the mountains was so worth it as were all the years trying to make it, it took me so long to get here."

Final general classification
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 87hrs 20mins 05secs

2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +59secs

3. Richie Porte (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 30secs

4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain McLaren) +5mins 58secs

5. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +6mins 07secs

6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana) +6mins 47secs

7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +7mins 48secs

8. Rigoberto Uran (Col/EF Pro Cycling) +8mins 02secs

9. Adam Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) +9mins 25secs

10. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain McLaren) +14mins 03secs

Stage 21 result
1. Sam Bennett (Ire/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 2hrs 53mins 32secs

2. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek-Segafredo) Same time

3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE Team Emirates)

5. Elia Viviani (Ita/Cofidis)

6. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma)

7. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto Soudal)

8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra/Israel Start-Up Nation)

9. Bryan Coquard (Fra/B&B Hotels-Vital Concept)

10. Max Walscheid (Ger/NTT Pro)
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I see a lot of people think that Roglic "choked" on the Time Trial. Not at all in my opinion, as Roglic still finished 5th, 1m56s behind Pogacar with the 2nd rider a distant 1m21s behind Pogacar. And I'd point out that Pogacar beat Roglic in the Slovenian National Time Trial earlier this season, so no great surprise.

What it does prove is the value of the team riders in the TdF. Jumbo-Visma finished 2nd, 4th and 5th in the Time Trial, but they were riding as individuals. They were in control all the way when supporting Roglic, but his Time Trial performance showed a slight over-reliance in his teammates.

As for me, I had a reasonable TdF with three 2nd places from my three selections - not bad, but could do better, as my schoolteachers used to say.
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