Why have there been so many solo stage winners at the Tour de France 2021?

The 2021 Tour de France has seen a higher amount of lone stage winners than recent editions

Bauke Mollema wins stage 14 of the 2021 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the face of it, there was nothing unusual about the finish of yesterday’s Tour de France stage at the summit of the Col du Portet. The familiar hierarchy of GC favourites was formed on the climb, and the best rider in the race, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), outsprinted Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) at the top to take an expected stage victory. 

But those who have been following the Tour closely might have noticed that it bucked a trend that has been firmly established over the past three weeks, by becoming the first stage of the race so far to have been decided by a small group sprint. 

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.