Tadej Pogacar cruises to victory in Tour de France time trials

Cyclists race up a hill during the men’s 2021 USA Cycling Pro Criterium National Championships in downtown Knoxville Friday, June 18, 2021. Usacycling0618 1126

Defending Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar cruised to victory in Wednesday’s Stage 5 individual time trials, leapfrogging into second place overall.

Pogacar, 22, rode the 16-mile stage from Change to Laval in 32 minutes — 19 seconds better than Switzerland’s Stefan Kung.

“It was just a really good day today. I didn’t do any mistakes,” Pogacar, from Slovenia, said. “Luckily I had perfect conditions and also the temperature for me was perfect.”

Mathieu van der Poel of the Netherlands finished fifth at 31 seconds back, good enough to retain the yellow jersey, for now; he’s eight seconds ahead of the Slovenian, now the odds-on favorite to repeat.

“The goal was not to lose time, but I gained time so I’m super happy,” Pogacar said. “I’m just excited for the whole Tour. I would love to have the yellow jersey but Mathieu looks super nice, so it’s fine.”

Thursday’s Stage 6, which runs about 100 miles, will be contested between Tours and Chateauroux. The 21-stage course is scheduled to conclude on July 18 in Paris.

–Field Level Media