On the next-to-last day of the Tour de France, we witnessed one of the biggest comebacks in the 107-year history of Le Tour. Tadej Pogacar (Team UAE Emirates) won his third stage of the 2020 Tour de France with a tremendous victory during an individual time trial in Stage 20 at La Planche des Belles Filles. Pogacar upset Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who cracked in the time trial and lost his overall lead and yellow jersey in the penultimate stage of Le Tour.

LE Tour de France Stage 20 Time Trial Tadej Pogacar
Tadej Pogacar rides to a third stage win during a time trial at Stage 20 to seize the overall yellow jersey in the 2020 Tour de France. (Image: Thibault Camus/AP)

A Slovenian will ride into Paris on Sunday with a yellow jersey. But it’s going to be Pogacar and not Roglic after Roglic squandered a 57-second lead and finished nearly two minutes behind Pogacar. Roglic took fifth place in Stage 20.

  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 00:55:55
  2. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +01:21
  3. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +01:21
  4. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +01:31
  5. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +01:56

Pogacar, 21, had been wearing the white jersey for the top young rider in the peloton. With the time trial victory that included a mountain finish, he also snagged the polka dot jersey, which is designated to the top rider in the mountains.

Pogacar won Stage 9 at Le Runs, and he rode to victory in Stage 15 during a hellacious summit finish to the top of Mont Colombier.

Stage 20 Time Trial: Lure > La Planche des Belles Filles

The only time trial in this year’s Tour de France began with Stage 20 in Lure and ended 36 km later at the La Planche des Belles Filles ski resort.

After a flat first 30 km, riders faced a strenuous Category 1 climb for the final 6 km. The steep gradient started at 11%, but the final painful stretch included a 20% gradient.

Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) established the fastest mark at 57:16. However, Pogacar won the time trial by an astonishing 1:21. He swapped out bikes at the start of the hill, which took just seven seconds for the switch and five more to re-accelerate.

“I think I’m dreaming,” said Pogacar. “Didn’t think that I could win this, I thought Primoz was on a great day. I feel like my head’s going to explode.”

Roglic lost some time during a rough bike change from his TT bicycle to a mountain bike for the final ascent. He held a 20-second lead, but Pogacar quickly chopped away during a furious attack at the ascent.

“I just obviously didn’t push enough,” said Roglic. “It was like that, I was just more and more without the power I needed. I gave it everything until the end.”

Midway during the climb to La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogacar seized the overall lead in the GC. Instead of trailing the leader by a minute, Pogacar took the lead by nearly a minute.

Pogacar had previous experience with the route during three other cycling events. His team surveyed the route for extra recon before the Stage 20 time trial.

“I’m so proud of my team, and what a way to get the yellow jersey,” said Pogacar. “I knew every corner, I knew every pothole on the road.”

Bookies in Europe pegged Roglic as the 3/2 odds favorite to win Stage 20. Pogacar came into the time trial at 10/1 odds.

Map Stage 21 Paris 2020 Tour de France Le
Le Tour 2020 map of Stage 21 Mantes-la-Jolie > Paris. (Image : LeTour.fr)

On Deck: Stage 21 Mantes-la-Jolie > Paris Champs-Elysees

Stage 21 begins at Mantes-la-Jolie where many famous painters spent time painting landscapes and other well-known works of art. Le Tour ends with its famous finish line at the Champs-Elysees in the heart of Paris.

The final stage will be a gentile 122 km ride from Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris. The peloton faces one modest Category 4 climb to the top of Cote de Beaulle near the start of Stage 20. Otherwise, it’s a flat stage that will cater to sprinters or any other riders from teams that have yet to win a stage.

  1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +84:26:33
  2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:59
  3. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) +03:30
  4. Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) +05:58
  5. Enric Mas Nicolau (Movistar Team) +06:07

It was truly moving day in the GC. The top two flip-flopped and Roglic sits in second place.

Richie Porte moved up from fourth to third place overall and expanded his lead over Mikel Landa by 2-plus minutes. Landa also moved up a spot and he’s now fourth overall. Superman struggled in Stage 20 and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) tumbled from third place to sixth place overall in the GC.

Roglic was the favorite to win Le Tour since the Grand Depart in Nice. He sat atop of the futures board for nearly three weeks until he cracked in Stage 20.

Pogacar came into the penultimate stage as 14/1 odds to pull off the upset.

“We will see what happens now,” said Roglic. “I can be happy with the result and the racing we showed here.”