Tadej Pogacar seals historic Tour de France title as Sam Bennett sprints to victory in Paris to secure green jersey

Sam Bennett — 
Sam Bennett crosses the line in Paris as the Irishman seals the green jersey in some style Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Sam Bennett took victory on the Champs-Elysees after securing the green jersey on the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris as Tadej Pogacar rolled home in yellow to cap a remarkable closing weekend.

Bennett beat world champion Mads Pedersen in a sprint finish to take his second stage win of the Tour, having already wrapped up the points classification at the intermediate sprint of the 122km stage from Mantes-la-Jolie.

It made Bennett the first Irishman to win a major jersey at one of the three Grand Tours since Sean Kelly won green at the Tour for the fourth and final time in 1989.

Bennett launched his sprint early and briefly looked like he might be overhauled by the hard-chasing Pedersen, but he would not be denied in the race all sprinters want to win the most.

Peter Sagan took third place ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Elia Viviani.

Green was the only classification left to be determined after Pogacar's incredible ride in Saturday's time trial on La Planche des Belles Filles saw the Slovenian secure the yellow jersey as well as the King of the Mountains' polka dots and the best young rider's white on his Tour debut.

"I can't tell you how excited I am," Bennett said. "The green jersey and the Champs-Elysees, the world championships of sprinting. I never thought I'd be able to win this stage and to do it in green is so special.

"And to do it too with my dream team, Deceuninck-Quick Step — the way the boys rode all day was fantastic. It's just so amazing the feeling, I can't thank everyone enough."
PA

Bennett wins the final stage at the Tour de France!

Sam Bennett(Deceuninck-Quick Step) wins the final stage at this year's Tour de France, what a wonderful way to seal the green jersey. World champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) takes second ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in what is his final race dressed in the rainbow bands.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) finishes safely in the bunch — in 41st place, to be precise — to become the first Slovenian to win the Tour. Compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is runner-up, ahead of the 35-year-old Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) who takes his first podium place at a grand tour at the 15th time of asking.

As mentioned, Bennett takes home the green jersey after winning the points classification ahead of Sagan and Matteo Trentin (CCC). 

Pogacar also takes home the polka-dot jersey after taking that off the shoulders of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) on La Planche des Belles Filles on Saturday. The Ecuadorian finished second the mountains classification ahead or Roglic in third.

The 21-year-old who celebrates a birthday on Monday, also takes home the white jersey as the best young rider. Enric Mas (Movistar) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) complete the podium. 

Movistar win the team classification ahead of Jumbo-Visma and Bahrain-McLaren. 

1km to go

Elia Viviani(Cofidis) is spotted near the front of the field, but it is getting a little chaotic up there. Deceuninck-Quick Step take control with Kasper Asgreen leading the way; world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) is getting into position.

2km to go

Just 2,000 metres of the Tour de France to go. 

3km to go

Deceuninck-Quick Step are down the left-hand side of the road, Sunweb and Lottos-Soudal on the opposite side. Peter Sagan is freelancing here today.

4km to go

Just one man leads: Maximilian Schachmann. But Quick-Step are drilling it, followed by Jumbo and Sunweb.

5km to go

Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) clips off the front, locked in no man's land between the peloton and the break whose advantage is down to a few seconds. 

6km to go

Jumbo-Visma replace NTT on the front of the peloton, speeding along the  Champs-Elysées in its arrow-head formation.

7km to go — one lap to go!

The break is holding on, but it is surely only a matter of time before they are scooped up by the speeding peloton.

8km to go

NTT move themselves towards the front of the peloton.

10km to go

The peloton ebbs and flows, but Jumbo-Visma remin near the front, just ahead of NTT who have Edvald Boasson Hagen in position.

11km to go

Connor Swift takes another turn on the front of the breakaway, the advantage pulling out slightly. Back in the peloton the teams are getting into position. Jumbo-Visma have four or five riders in line on the front.

12km to go

The breakaway's advantage drops to below 10sec.

13km to go

Bryan Coquard has edged towards the front of the peloton, Jumbo-Visma have numbers — can Wout van Aert take a third stage win? — while Nicholas Roche is still pulling for Sunweb.

14km to go

Nicholas Roche (Sunweb) is back on the front. The Irish fans that are watching today as Sam Bennett edges towards a first jersey at the Tour since 1989 will be loving that.

15km to go

And that lead drops further, down to just 14sec now.

16km to go

And the breakaway's advantage is down to 15sec.

17km to go

No change in the breakaway, but I'm certain they will be caught in the final few kilometres. But who will win this stage? As it stands there all of the main contenders are near the front of the speeding peloton.

18km to go

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) is back on the front, burying himself in the service of his pint-sized sprinting team-mate Caleb Ewan. With each pedal stroke the pace is getting faster and faster. 

19km to go

Nicholas Roche (Sunweb) takes over on the front of the peloton. The breakaway's lead is holding at around 16sec.

20km to go

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) pulls the peloton along ahead of Pierre Rolland​ (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-Quick Step). Sunweb have numbers tucked in closely behind.

22km to go

The four-man break's lead is down to 16sec.

23km to go

I've just spotted Elia Viviani (Cofidis) for the first time in three weeks. Is the Italian sprinter going to spring a surprise here today? Wouldn't that be something? 

25km to go

Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) is still out in front, 20sec ahead of the peloton.

27km to go

Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) appears to have hit the deck, though not too sure what happened. Back at the pointy end of the peloton, Thomas De Gendt is riding hard, keeping the pace high to ensure no further attacks go off — he will be thinking about team-mate Caleb Ewan today. Ewan, of course, won the corresponding stage here last year.

29km to go

Pierre-Luc Périchon leads the breakaway around 16sec up the road from the peloton that has another Frenchman — Pierre Rolland​ (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) — on the front. Rolland will be working here for team-mate Bryan Coquard.

30km to go

Interesting to note that with Maximilian Schachmann in the break, Bora-Hansgrohe will not be doing any chasing today. Will that help their man Peter Sagan end his drought? Not if Lotto-Soudal,  Sunweb or Deceuninck-Quick Step have anything to say about where today's stage win goes.

32.5km to go

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) push on, the quartet riding through-and-off over these smooth cobbles. Sunweb, Deceuninck-Quick Step and Bora-Hansgrohe all have rider near the front as the pace picks up.

35km to go — five laps to go

No change on the front. The leading quartet are holding on. Meanwhile, there's some big transfer news coming up later tonight on Telegraph Sport but sadly I can't tell you what it is just yet.

38km to go 

The leading quartet of Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) have gained around 20sec on the peloton. The sprinters' teams, however, will be in no mood to gift them the stage.

40km to go — Bennett secures green jersey

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) clip off the front to take the first four places at the intermediate sprint. Back in the bunch, Peter Sagan does not contest for the points meaning that Irishman Sam Bennett will win the green jersey here today. But can he cap a wonderful day with a stage win?

42.5km to go

Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) takes it up on the front of the peloton. What a moment for the young Briton who rides for the Pro-Continental team in support of Nairo Quintana. But today he is getting his chance to shine in the evening sun and poke his nose into the wind ahead of some of the best cyclists in the world.

44km to go — intermediate sprint incoming

Just 4km from the key point in today's stage. If Sam Bennett finishes here ahead of Peter Sagan then as long as he finishes the stage then he will win the points jersey.

45km to go

Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers), Michael Schär (CCC), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis Solutions Crédits) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-up Nation) bridegd over to Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers), but the move was soon neutralised, before Thomas De Gendt moves the the front.

50km to go

Michal Kwiatkowski(Ineos Grenadiers) rolls off the front, the Pole who won his first ever grand tour stage earlier this week, is chased by a handful of others. It has been a very aggressive start to proceedings. 

51km to go

Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the Danish national champion, bridged over to the escapees, but nothing has really stuck. The injection in pace on the front has led to the bunch stretching out a little further.

Early attacks on the Champs-Elysées

Jens Keukeleire (EF Pro Cycling) wastes little time and the Blgian flies off the front and has former British champion Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) for company.

54km to go

And Tadej Pogacar is onto the Champs-Elysées for the first time in his career. What a way to arrive. Head-to-toe in yellow, an hour away from being crowned Tour de France champion. All at the age of 21.

56km to go 

The peloton passes by the Louvre Museum and what a picture it is, Paris bathed in the evening sun as the riders string out in a long line as the pace starts to pitch up. Looks very odd with hardly any spectators lining the roadside, only 5,000 have been permitted access here today.

Tour de France champion-elect Tadej Pogacar rides past the Louvre Museum Credit: AFP

60km to go

And UAE Team Emirates lead the peloton towards the Champs-Elysées for the first time today. The riders will pass over the finish line before completing eight laps on the cobbled circuit. A slight rise up before the bunch loops around the Arc de Triomphe in an anti-clockwise direction and back down towards Place de la Concorde ahead of the fast finale to the finish line.

65km to go

I just spotted Greg Van Avermaet (CCC). Other than making the 12-man group at the pointy end of stage 19 on Friday, the two-time stage winner at the Tour and former Paris-Roubaix champion has been fairly anonymous at this year's race. UAE Team Emirates are still on the front, while Sunweb — the team of the Tour for me — are sitting, ominously, off their shoulders. Can they take a fourth stage win today?

70km to go

The peloton has passed beyond the Palace of Versailles and is on the outskirts of Paris. Not too long long before the riders hit the cobbled boulevard that is the Champs-Élysées.

The peloton has passed the Palace of Versailles Credit: AP

75km to go

UAE Team Emirates are riding on the front of the peloton, relatively gently at the moment. While they have the second youngest Tour de France champion in Tadej Pogacar within their team, they also have Alexander Kristoff who took the first yellow jersey at this year's race after winning the opening stage in Nice three weeks ago. The popular Norwegian, as I'm sure you will recall, won this stage back in 2018. What a way to finish off a quite remarkable Tour that would be if they could bookend the race with yet another stage win.

80km to go

The peloton is around 40km from the intermediate sprint . . .

Sam Bennett will not want to lose any ground to Peter Sagan at the intermediate sprint Credit: REUTERS

85km to go

As the riders edge their way towards Paris, the fans have been gathering in Champs-Élysées. Unsurprisingly, a number of Slovenian supporters appear to have got the party started.

Slovenian cycling fans await their hero in Paris Credit: GETTY IMAGES

90km to go

Must admit, I was quite surprised to learn that this will be the first Tour de France won on a Colnago-branded bike frame. Historians of the sport out there will, no doubt, be aware that frame builder Ernesto Colnago (pictured below) used to make Eddy Merckx's bikes back in the 1960s, but they were badged up in the great Belgian's name. 

95km to go

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) is spotted midway down the bunch. The peloton is tapping along at a fairly leisurely pace, generally two or three abreast with riders chatting away, shooting the breeze in the sunshine. Must say, it looks like a lovely afternoon for a bike ride in northern France.

100km to go

Really not much going on just yet, Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic) crested the Côte de Beulle, the one and only categorised climb of the day. Other than the €200 he added to his prize pot, that really won't make too much of a difference to his Tour de France.

Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) has been riding on the front of the bunch, just ahead of another Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) who looks quite happy with himself. I imagine that smile is tinged with a little regret having endured a disappointing Tour.

110km to go

While the main focus is on Tadej Pogacar, Deceuninck-Quick Step have Irish national champion Sam Bennett dressed all in green today. And no, he's not in green because he is Irish, but because he is leading the points classification competition. 

Deceuninck-Quick Step fan out across the road and will be hoping their man Sam Bennett can seal the green jersey later this afternoon Credit: GETTY IMAGES

My colleague Tom Cary, who has been following the race around France for the last three weeks, filed this on Bennett last night. A nice little backgrounder on Bennett and Ireland's relationship with the green jersey . . .

The small town of Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary numbered fewer than 6,000 citizens the last time anyone counted, which was four years ago. Sam Bennett will probably be able to hear the roar from 600 miles away in Paris if he can deliver in the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday.

Bennett, who hails from Carrick-on-Suir, is set to become the first Irishman to win the Tour de France’s green jersey since Sean Kelly, also bizarrely from Carrick-on-Suir, won it for the fourth and final time in 1989. The statistical likelihood of two men from the same small town in Ireland winning the points classification at the biggest bike race in the world is about the same as two Slovenians finishing first and second in the general classification: miniscule. 

115km to go

As is traditional, it has been a very relaxed start to the stage. World champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) has been chatting with Tadej Pogacar, perhaps sharing some words of wisdom.

Tour de France champion-elect Tadej Pogacar (left) and world champion Mads Pedersen Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Pedersen is only 24 and was a surprise winner of the rainbow jersey at last year's world championships in Harrogate. Jumbo-Visma, who will have been heartbroken following Saturday's time trial, have also been up to congratulate the 21-year-old.

UAE Team Emirates will take home three jerseys — yellow, white and polka dot — and four stages thanks to the opening-day victory from Alexander Kristoff, and three wins for Tadej Pogacar  Credit: GETTY IMAGES

And they're off!

Having rolled through the neutralised section ahead of today's stage, the relatively short 122km run from Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris Champs-Élysées is under way. There was a lovely moment from Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) who rode up alongside champion-elect Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) to congratulate his compatriot. The remainder of the Slovenians at this year's Tour followed.

Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) and Kévin Reza (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) were also spotted near the front. The former was awarded the super-combativity award on Saturday as the most aggressive rider at this  year's race. Reza, meanwhile, is the only black rider at the race.

Kévin Reza is the only black rider at the Tour de France Credit: EPA

Most sports have, in some way, shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, however race organisers have thus far done little, if anything, to make their voices heard and it doesn't appear that they are going to anything to rectify that here today. A few riders were photographed wearing face masks with slogans of support ahead of the start and, according to reports, some attempted to organise some sort of official show of support. A number of campaigners will be extremely disappointed with the apparent silence from the Tour de France.

So, what's on the menu today? 

Though largely processional, today will be fiercely contested once the riders reach the cobbled boulevard that is the Champs-Élysées where we can expect a bunch gallop for the final stage in what has been one of the most entertaining Tours de France in living memory.

Other than the stage win, there's really not too much left to scrap over, not unless you are Matteo Trentin (CCC) and are hoping to leapfrog Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to second place in the points classification. Here's a profile of the stage . . .

. . . and here's where those points can be won:

There's just one point available in the mountains classification, but with the top three in that competition all wrapped up then unless Pierre Rolland​ (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) is desperate to climb above Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-La Mondiale) into sixth spot — which is a possibility — then I can't see too much happening until the riders reach Paris at around 5pm (BST) this afternoon.

I'm going for another stage win for Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) today, but there will be no gifts handed out despite the celebratory mood within the peloton. A stage win for a sprinter on the Champs-Élysées is akin to a world title, indeed it has been previously described as the sprinters' unofficial world championships.

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott), Cees Bol (Sunweb), Elia Viviani (Cofidis Solutions Crédits), Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT) will also be hoping to get involved once the race concludes at around 5.50pm. The stage will start at 3pm.

As it stands . . .

Those familiar with stage racing will know that there are a number of jerseys on offer in various competitions, or classifications. Barring disasters — riders not completing today's stage or finishing outside the time limit — all of the classification jerseys will be going to two riders.

Afternoon

And welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 21 at the 107th edition of the Tour de France, the 122km run from Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris Champs-Élysées. That's right folks, it is the final day of what has been a quite magnificent edition of the Tour. Before we have an extremely quick look at today's stage, let's have a quick recap of what happened on Saturday.

First up, here's our correspondent Tom Cary's verdict following yesterday's breathtaking time trial up the steep slope of La Planche des Belles . . .

Not since 1989, when the American Greg LeMond overturned a 50-second deficit to beat home favourite Laurent Fignon by eight seconds in a final-day time trial in Paris, had the Tour de France seen anything like it. 

In one of the most astonishing turnarounds in the history of the race, Tadej Pogacar, a 21-year-old from the village of Komenda (population 896) in Slovenia, defied all expectations on Saturday to thrash his compatriot and champion-elect Roglic in the penultimate-day time trial and effectively wrap up the maillot jaune. 

Tradition dictates that the yellow jersey is not attacked on the final day in Paris, meaning Pogacar will become the first Slovenian to win the Tour when the race arrives in the French capital, and the second youngest winner of all time after Henri Cornet, who won in 1904 just short of his 20th birthday.

Meanwhile, our colleagues at The Cycling Podcast published their latest episode on Saturday night. While we are waiting for today's stage to get under way, why don't you give it a listen?

In this episode of The Cycling Podcast, Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau recap an incredible stage of the Tour de France which turned the race on its head.

A Slovenian will wear the yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday but the Tour champion elect is not Primoz Roglic, who has led the race since the Pyrenees but Tadej Pogacar, who produced a stunning performance in the time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles.