Recap: Pogacar Crowned Tour de France Champion, Bennett Wins Finale

Watch In Canada: Tour de France Stage 21

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Slovenian rookie Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France on Sunday, riding triumphantly into Paris in the race leader's yellow jersey at just 21 years old.

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 Pogacar became the Tour's youngest champion since 1904 as Ireland's Sam Bennett won the 21st and final stage after the eight-lap dash around the iconic Champs-Elysees to clinch the green sprint points jersey. The champion mounted the podium as the sun set behind the Arc de Triomphe to pick up the best climber's jersey, the white top young rider's prize and finally the Tour winner's famous yellow jersey.

"I can't find the words to thank everyone, but it's been amazing this three weeks where the fans cheered me all the way," said Pogacar.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo stood alongside Slovenian President Borut Pahor while Pogacar unfurled his national flag and draped it over his shoulders. Long-time race leader Primoz Roglic ended second while Australia's Richie Porte came third. Dressed in green, Bennett lifted his bike aloft after the race, which provided his second stage win.

"It was so hard but it was all worth it, I still can't believe it," said the big sprinter after edging seven-time winner Peter Sagan to the green jersey.

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Outsprinting Covid

The Tour will forever be remembered for a dramatic last-gasp turnaround as Pogacar grabbed the overall lead when his rival Roglic suffered a mountainside meltdown on the penultimate day. This storied edition of the century-old race packed with thrills and spills will be equally recalled for outsprinting the dark shadow of Covid-19.

Starting two months late due to the global pandemic, the race set off under strict health guidelines in Nice with doubts it would make it all the way to Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron is credited with giving the green light for a rescheduled event heavy in virus protocols to go ahead. But after 3,400km of intense racing the 146 remaining riders embarked Sunday for a parade of the winners until the hotly-disputed sprint in Paris.

The race was a triumph of organization after receiving belated clearance to stage the event, although just 5,000 fans lined Sunday's finish due to the health protocol. Dutch team Jumbo-Visma dominated the 2020 race with their yellow and black jerseys always grouped at the head of the race as they out-powered everyone until the last and crucial day.

Winners of the past five editions, Britain's Team Ineos also had a Tour they may regret. They put their faith in defending champion Egan Bernal, but in spite of spending a week in the white jersey, he struggled to impose himself, lacking perhaps the wisdom and experience of Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome. He lost over seven minutes on stage 15 and dropped out the following day.

Team principal and expansive thinker Dave Brailsford refocused the team, resulting in a stage win for Michael Kwiatkowski in the Alps but Ineos will be licking wounds as they leave France. When it came to climbers though there was no touching Pogacar who takes the polka dot jersey as well. There was a sudden focus on Slovenia, a nation of just two million, as Roglic and Pogacar contested the overall win.

Race director Christian Prudhomme was left with a red face when he was sent home mid-race when he tested positive after the first week. But he will also take plaudits for this Tour and the colossal force of will it took to pull it all off without major incident.

Fernando Gaviria Out Of Giro After Positive Covid-19 Test

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Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for Covid-19 at the Giro d'Italia and has withdrawn from the race, his UAE Emirates team announced on Tuesday.

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Almeida Survives Pink Jersey Scare As Geoghegan Hart Wins Giro Stage 15

Stage 15 winner

Portuguese pink jersey wearer Joao Almeida survived a stiff challenge to his overall race lead from Dutch title rival Wilco Kelderman who closed in on the leader after Sunday's Giro d'Italia 15th stage.

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Van der Poel Follows Father in Flanders, Alaphilippe Crashes Into Motorbike

van der Poel Tour of Flanders

Mathieu van der Poel took the Tour of Flanders honors on Sunday for his first win in one of cycling's so-called Monuments marked by world champion Julian Alaphilippe's heavy fall after colliding with a motorbike.

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Ganna Tops Time Trials In Stage 14 of Giro d'Italia

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 14

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Italy's world time-trial champion Filippo Ganna continued his sparkling form on Saturday by winning the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Joao Almeida tightened his grip on the leader's pink jersey.

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Italy's Diego Ulissi Wins Giro 13th Stage, Almeida Remains In Pink

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 13

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Italy's Diego Ulissi won the 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday as Joao Almeida retained the race leader's pink jersey ahead of a crucial time trial that the Portuguese rider admitted will be "difficult".

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Jhonatan Narvaez Wins Giro d'Italia 12th Stage, Almeida Stays In Pink

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 12

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Ecuador's Jhonatan Narvaez gave the Ineos team their third stage win in this year's Giro d'Italia, crossing the line alone on a wet stage 12 at Cesenatico on Thursday.

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Arnaud Demare Gets Fourth Win In Stage 11 At Giro d'Italia

Arnaud Demare 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 11

Frenchman Arnaud Demare powered to his fourth victory in this year's Giro d'Italia, winning a frenetic stage 11 finish in the seaside town of Rimini on Wednesday.

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Sagan Goes It Alone To Win Giro 10th Stage

Peter Sagan 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 10

Peter Sagan soloed to victory in the Giro d'Italia's 10th stage on Tuesday after two teams, Mitchelton and Jumbo-Visma, were forced to pull out before the stage because of positive COVID-19 tests.

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Kruijswijk, Matthews, And Mitchelton-Scott Team Abandon Giro d'Italia

Will The Giro Make It To Milan?

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Multiple riders and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 the UCI and RCS Sport announced in a joint press release. The tests were the first round, conducted during the rest day, in addition to the multiple safety measures the Giro d’Italia have had in place since the depart in Sicily. Mitchelton-Scott was the worst hit, with several staff members returning positive tests after their GC hopeful, Simon Yates, tested positive several days into the first week. The team released a statement soon after. 

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Portuguese Double As Guerreiro Wins Giro Ninth Stage

Ruben Guerreiro

Portugal's Ruben Guerreiro of Education First won Sunday's 208km ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia from San Salvo to Roccaraso with compatriot Joao Almeida holding the overall leader's pink jersey.

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