The fight for the KoM jersey at the 2021 Tour has been fought out between Wout Poels, Nairo Quintana and Mike Woods throughout the race, with Poels pulling out a modest lead in the standings heading into stage 17.
But after Poels (Bahrain Victorious) had extended his lead on the penultimate climb, the Col de Val Louron-Azet, it was Pogačar who claimed the most points on the day by winning the stage on the Col du Portet.
Pogačar earned 41 points on stage 17, jumping up five places in the process and now sitting in second, just nine points behind Poels, who has been fighting for KoM points on most stages since day eight, when he first took the polka-dot jersey.
There are more points on offer on stage 18, the final climbing day of the race, with four categorised climbs including the Hors Categorie (beyond categorisation) Col du Tourmalet and the summit finish in Luz Ardiden, which means Pogačar could overtake Poels in the competition if the stage win goes to the general classification contenders again.
In last year’s Tour de France, Pogačar won all of the classifications except the points, as he took home the general classification, the youth classification and the mountains jersey in his debut on the race.
This year he already leads the general classification by five minutes and will take home the youth classification again if he wins overall.
Speaking after his win on stage 17, Pogačar said: “It has been very hard to defend the yellow jersey every single day. We couldn’t fight for the stage win because almost every day was good for the breakaway [to make it to the finish], so we couldn’t do much.
“Today it was a good stage to control from the beginning, more like a 50/50 between the breakaway and the bunch. In the end, everyone in my team felt good and we managed to bring it back. I tried to get the stage win and it turned out well.
[When I attacked, Richard] Carapaz, [Jonas] Vingegaard and I went clear, but only Jonas and I cooperated to put some distance between us and the rest of the GC favourites. At some point, Jonas came by and told me that he thought Carapaz was bluffing. I knew it also: that’s tactics in pro cycling. When Carapaz attacked, I was very driven to catch him and hold his wheel. I just sprinted out on the last 150 meters. It has been a fantastic day. To win in the yellow jersey is something I can’t describe.”
Anna van der Breggen launches signature clothing collection
Double world champion adds new kit range to her list of projects in her final year as a pro
By Simon Smythe •
Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow bend road handlebar reviewed
Go-to handlebars if you like a curly drop
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
'It’s been a nice run, but it’s time': Richie Porte says 2021 edition was his final Tour de France
The Australian leads his national team into the Olympic Games road race on Saturday
By Richard Windsor •
Mark Cavendish beats Tim Merlier to sprint victory in post-Tour de France crit
The British sprinter was on the podium again in the lucrative exhibition race in Flanders
By Alex Ballinger •
From Dulwich Park to Paris: The story of Fred Wright's debut Tour de France
The 22-year-old Brit, 'a child of the Herne Hill community', was the youngest rider in this year's race
By Jonny Long •
Health issues could force Dave Brailsford to step down as Ineos Grenadiers boss
The 57-year-old has been treated for cancer and heart issues over the past couple of years
By Jonny Long •
How much prize money did Tadej Pogačar get for winning the Tour de France?
There was around €2.3 million up for grabs in this year's race
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Mark Cavendish rues leaving Mørkøv's wheel on Champs-Élysées, but will he ride another Tour de France?
Cavendish remains on 34 wins but is all smiles as he wins green jersey in incredible comeback
By Jonny Long •
Tour de France 2021 team ratings: how did each team perform?
We rate the performances of each of the teams in the 108th editon of the Tour de France
By Stephen Puddicombe •
From unfancied first selection to believing he can win a stage: Connor Swift's Tour de France dream continues
The 2018 British men's road race champion is becoming a regular feature in the race
By Chris Marshall-Bell •