2021 marked the 108th edition of the storied Tour de France, the most significant grand tour in cycling. The 2021 edition was a blowout, with 22-year-old Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates taking the GC (Overall Classification) title. Pogacar took the lead on stage 8 in the Alps and never looked back. In the mountains, he was able to defeat his rivals every time they challenged him. He won two stages in the Pyrenees, including stage 18 on the famous Luz Ardiden. Pogacar won the overall race by over five minutes, which is the most significant margin in recent years.
Not only did Pogacar win the race in 2021, but he also won in 2020. On the penultimate stage in 2020, he beat fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic in a time trial to claim the race lead. This victory made Pogacar the second-youngest man ever to win the Tour de France. More impressive still, he has won the King of the Mountains (Best Climber), Best Young Rider, and the overall classification two years in a row.
The 2021 race was significant for American cycling, as Sepp Kuss of Durango, Colorado, became the first American to win a tour stage in ten years. Kuss went with the breakaway early in stage 15 and made a move on the last climb to claim victory in Andorra. His teammate, Wout Van Art, won three stages of the race as well, making the 2021 tour a success for their Jumbo-Visma team.
Not to be forgotten, Mark Cavendish of Great Britain claimed four stage wins to claim the green jersey competition for best sprinter. Cav went through many tough years but made a return in 2021. His team, Deceuninck Quick-Step, executed several perfect lead-outs to set up Cavendish for success. He was so successful that he tied Eddie Merckx of Belgium for the most stage wins of all time, with 34. Cav went for the record on the final stage in Paris but lost to Wout Van Aert of Belgium in a close final sprint.
Next for many of the riders is the Olympic Games, followed by La Vuelta a España, the year’s final grand tour.