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Slovenian mighty Tadej Pogacar officially won his second victory at the Tour de France on Sunday after dominating the field for most of the three weeks of the race.
Pogačar, 22, continued in the general standings in the rainy stage eight and never gave up the yellow jersey of the leading driver, winning three of the 21 phases of the race.
Last year, Pogačar came to an unexpected victory after his rival Primož Roglič stumbled in the penultimate stage run on time. At the time, he was the youngest Tour winner in 116 years.
“I can’t compare both victories at the Tour de France, I can’t say which is better,” Pogacar said, according to the Associated Press. “This time I took the yellow jersey much earlier. It was completely different.”
Twenty-four-year-old Danish driver Jonas Vingegaard finished in second place, and Ecuadorian star Richard Carapaz, 28, finished in third place. Carapaz is the first Ecuadorian to ever finish among the top three in Tour history.
Pogačar was the favorite to win by entering the race. Roglič, also from Slovenia, was another favorite, but he was caught in several collisions early in the race and fell to recover from injuries.
Mark Cavendish is reviving his cycling career
Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish, 36, a native of the Isle of Man, resurrected a career that seemed to be in decline, winning four stages of the Tour.
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In doing so, Cavendish scored a total of 34 victories in his career on the Tour de France stage, coinciding with the record set between 1969 and 1975 by Eddy Merckx, who is generally considered the greatest cyclist of all time.
Cavendish cried in tears after his first win on this year’s Tour, the first in five years. He was selected to be on the team at the last minute after another driver injury.
“I didn’t think I would ever go back to this race,” he said in an emotional interview after the race.
American Sepp Kuss broke through
And this year, the American audience also saw the first American victory in the Tour phase since 2011: Sepp Kuss from Durango, Colorado.
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“He was awesome,” said writer Patrick Redford of the Defector website All things considered. “I mean, he’s 26, so some people are potentially coaxing him as the next American Tour winner. He looked incredibly strong.”
Several drivers from the Tour are now preparing to travel to Tokyo, where they will participate in this year’s Olympics.