Tour de France 2021 Race Recap
From the yellow jersey to sprint trains that threatened other WorldTour teams, we review the 2021 Tour de France.
The Tour de France is always a special time of the year. With summer approaching, the eyes of the world turn to France for images of tight-knit pelotons, fields of sunflowers, and thousands of cycling fanatics dotting the hillside of various mountain passes. Each Tour tells a story, and this year’s was rife with triumph, defeat, ups, and downs.
The first week of the Tour de France saw Mathieu van der Poel expand upon his legend status by taking the yellow jersey from the current world champion, Julian Alaphilipe. To contextualize this feat, van der Poel and the rest of Alpecin-Fenix used a special edition kit that paid homage to van der Poel’s late grandfather, Raymond Poulidor. By wearing the Yellow Jersey, van der Poel was able to achieve what his grandfather could not after 12 Tour de Frances. The visibly emotional van der Poel used a special edition Aeroad that underscored the significance of this event.
Movistar had high hopes for this Tour given Enric Mas’ recent performance in the Vuelta a Espana last year. A strong team on the start line produced some good results- most notably, Alejandro Valverde finished second on Stage 15 in Andorra-la-Vella. His perseverance and stunning athletic ability never disappoints his rivals and spectators alike. It’s always great to see someone with such a long history with the sport still fighting at the pointy end.
Arkea-Samsic took a strong team to the Tour de France this year with five Frenchmen, two Brits and the peloton’s favourite Colombian climber, (sorry, Egan!) Nairo Quintana. The diminutive climber is no stranger at calling himself the King of the Mountain- he managed to win the Polka-Dot jersey back in 2013, and followed that result with a Giro win in 2014. Nairo fought hard to win the jersey, managing to hold it this year on stages 9-13.
We can’t help but feel immense pride for every single one of our Canyon riders. Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) demonstrated that smaller budget Pro-Continental teams can go bar to bar with multi-million dollar WorldTour sprint trains and come out on top. One of the men they couldn’t beat was the Manx Missile Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quickstep) who has now tied Eddy Merckx’s record for most Tour de France stage wins at 34 total. To miss out on stage victories to someone of that kind of stature while you’re racing your first Tour de France ever isn’t bad, is it?
The one skill that was constantly highlighted throughout the Tour was the power and finesse of the Alpecin-Fenix sprint train. Where other obvious WorldTour teams were nowhere to be seen, you could guarantee that the navy blue and red jerseys of Alpecin-Fenix were driving the pace higher and higher in an effort to bring the race to a nail-biting crescendo.
And they did it stage, after stage, after stage. One of the standout sprinters of this year’s Tour was Jasper Philipsen, who had no fewer than five podium finishes in this Tour. He is the first Canyon rider to podium on the Champs Elysees since 2016 and one of our best ever results in the Sprinters Classification (green jersey). Next year, he’ll be on the top step. And that’s our greatest victory from this Tour de France.
Yes, Mathieu wore the yellow jersey and yes there were podium finishes on multiple stages but best of all we won hope for the years to come. Hope for the future of cycling, the promise of Grand Tour winners within just a couple of years from now. The talent coming through to the highest level of our sport was indeed the most exciting aspect of this year’s Tour.
The 108th Tour de France begins on 26th June 2021. Let’s take a closer look at the route, the stages and where you can watch on TV.
Winning his first Tour stage, MVDP dedicates yellow jersey to grandfather, a former stage winner who never wore the ‘maillot jaune’.
The 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia rolls out of Turin, Italy on Saturday May 8th. We take a look at the route, riders, jerseys, and where you can watch the first Grand Tour of 2021.