Before the tour began, we wrote an article with an overview of the entire route and predictions using a mixture between available information and sports betting predicitions. By the end of the event, none of our predictions came to fruition. This year's edition of the tour began with sporadic downpours, which always throws a time trial stage into chaos. After the rain subsided, temperatures began to rise every day, to a point where asphalt in some sections became sticky and required event organizers to pour gallons of water over those sections, a move which was unfairly criticized since France was simultaneously experiencing wildfires. Amidst the rain and fire, the cobbles stage had a fair amount of crashes and injured some top riders, Daniel Oss was even knocked down by a spectator during the cobbles stage. At the end of everything, a majority of stages were won by names nobody expected, the GC was someone almost nobody predicted, and many of the top riders were forced to abandon.
Amazing sights from Stage 3 of this year's tour.
After winning two consecutive tours, Tadej "Unstoppable" Pogačar was this year's favorite, at just 23 years old. By the end of the event, he would finish second place just mere minutes behind the leader Jonas Vingegaard. So, Pogačar still gets to take home the young rider jersey. Although many expected Jumbo-Visma would be the main competitor to Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates, fans expected it would be Primoz Roglič battling it out for the yellow jersey. However, after crashing and suffering from an aggregating injury, the team decided it would be better to let him rest and recover and then try again for a victory at the Vuelta.
After Stage 5, many eyes were on young American rider Neilson Powless, as he rose to second place and showed no signs of settling down. After Stage 6, Pogačar rose to the top with Powless trailing by only 4 seconds. Nobody predicted a rider from EF Education-EasyPost would be in the top rankings let alone in contention for GC, which apparently led to some team confusion as post-race interviews from teammates said that some were unaware Powless was in contention for GC.
Vingegaard made his way to second place after Stage 7--a stage that finished uphill on a Category 1 climb--only 35 seconds behind the leader. And that was exactly the secret sauce for Ineos Grenadiers in years past, a steady consistent effort spread across the entire event until their leader made it to the top. The main issue that Ineos had in recent years is that instead of pitting their efforts behind one or two people, they attempt to put too many people at the forefront. The tactic has been going on since Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal both had unexpected wins over their predecessors (Froome and Thomas respectively).
Ultimately, Ineos Grenadiers took home the team classification win, which was expected from a team that tried putting so many riders at the top of the GC classification. In fact, after the final stage--which is ultimately a ceremonial stage with no major changes--Ineos Grenadiers were the only team with two riders in the top 10 GC rankings. Geraint Thomas finished the event 7 minutes and 22 seconds behind the leader and was unable to make ground within some of the most important stages.
Wout Van Aert won over fans on social media with his wild attacks on several stages and led the points classification nearly the entire race by such a large gap that it was absolutely impossible for any other rider to take the green jersey away from him. For comparison, Sagan is usually the favorite for the points jersey and finished the entire event with 120 points compared to Van Aert's 480 points.
This year's GC winner, Jonas Vingegaard was also the KOM winner. Second and third place in the mountains classification were riders nobody predicted in contention, Simon Geschke and Giulio Ciccone respectively. Pogačar was also tied for third place in the mountains classification along with Giulio Ciccone with 61 points.
There were so many notable riders this year that it is difficult to mention every rider. So we'll end this article with our favorite post-race interview to date. When asked about Wout Van Aert's efforts, Thomas Pidcock stated, "He's playing with our balls ... He's taking the piss!"
And that's a wrap for this year's Tour de France. Make sure to watch the very first edition of the Tour de France Femmes, which began on Sunday, July 24th, and ends on July 31st. For those interested in reading about the Tour de France Femmes being displayed with innovative technology, you can read more in our article Tour de France Femmes Gaining More Live Coverage. For those that want to see a small selection of highlights from the Tour, you can read more in our article Snoods, Blunders, and Other Viral Topics From the Tour.