By Jonny Long
Norwegian 21-year-old Tobias Halland Johannessen has sealed the overall victory at the 2021 Tour de l'Avenir, following in the footsteps of Tadej Pogačar, Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana in riders who've previously won the U23 stage race meant to uncover the future stars of cycling.
The Uno-X rider, competing for his national federation, survived a final stage scare from Carlos Rodriguez, the Spaniard winning the final summit finish stage atop the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard and closing his deficit of 2-18 at the start of the day to just seven seconds across the stage nine finish line.
The fireworks on this final stage were befitting the route, 4,179 altitude metres in 154km, taking in the Col de la Madeleine and the Col d'Iseran.
Italy's Filippo Zana finished third, two minutes back, with the Netherlands' Gijs Leemreize and France's Hugo Toumire rounding out the top five, while there was also a space for Johannessen's twin brother Anders in the top 10, finishing seventh overall, 12 minutes down.
Britain's Tom Gloag was looking good for a top five GC finish before abandoning on the final stage, having crashed the previous day on the final descent before making it to the finish.
The nine-stage race culminated in three summit finishes in a row, Tobias Johannessen winning both stages seven and eight, the prior atop Grand Colombier, when the Norwegian first moved into the overall lead, and then up Saint Jean D'Arves where he strengthened his first position.
Saint Jean D'Arves, Johannessen beating Rodriguez by a second, and winning atop the Grand Colombier on stage seven when he moved up into first on GC.
Tour de l'Avenir 2021 - Final General Classification
1. Tobias Halland Johannessen (Nor), in 28-11-19
2. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp), at seven seconds
3. Filippo Zana (Ita), at 2-05
4. Gijs Leemreize (Ned), at 2-54
5. Hugo Toumire (Fra), at 12-02
6. Martin Messner (Aut), at same time
7. Anders Halland Johannessen (Nor)
8. Jacob Hindsgaul Madsen (Den)
9. Daan Hoole (Ned)
10. Joris Delbove (Fra) Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, all at same time
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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