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A stage victory and a yellow jersey – how the North American contingent fared in the Tour de France

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One won stage, another rode on the yellow jersey-winning team. Others were on the attack, and a few crashed.

Such was the adventure of the North American contingent in the 2021 Tour de France.

Seven North Americans – three Canadians and four Americans – started in Brest, and six came to Paris.

Sepp Kuss won a stage and Brandon McNulty arrived in Paris wearing the yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar by his side.

Michael Woods traveled early, partly to recover and prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he will line up as one of the favorites for the gold medal in the elite men’s road race.

Here is an overview of the ups and downs of the North American peloton:

Sean Bennett (Continue-NextHash): 130th overall

The American Tour rookie helped set the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées to round off a solid first crack on the Tour. Nicholas Dlamini, the first black South African to start the Tour de France, as well as teammates Victor Campenaerts and Michael Gogl did not come to Paris, while teammate Simon Clarke ended the Tour with a broken back.

Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation): 105th overall

Boivin was one of the behind-the-scenes workers for the Israel Start-Up Nation and helped early in stages to place Woods, Dan Martin or André Greipel in the right place on key days.

Hugo Houle (Astana-Premier Tech): 66th overall; most combat S10

Houle was active a few important eruptions. He won the most war prize in stage 10 and finished 12th in stage 7. He also rode to protect GC captain Alexey Lutsenko, who arrived in Paris in the seventh overall.

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) – 32nd overall; stage victory S15

Kiss was admittedly a bit slow out of the gate in his second Tour start. Colorado lost time early to remove the GC pressure from him and put himself in a helping role as Jonas Vingegaard filled the void left by Primož Roglič.

Kuss found his legs in the second half of the race and rode into the decisive eruption on the mountain stage into Andorra, Kuss’ European residence, where he knew the roads. While his girlfriend and family waited along the road, Kuss attacked over the last climb to join an elite group of American stage winners on the Tour.

Kuss later helped the pace with Vingegaard through the Pyrenees in a trip that saw Jumbo-Visma finish with only four riders, but win four stages and finish as number two.

Kuss chose from the Tokyo Games and will recover before heading to the Vuelta a España, where Roglič can return to defend his title.

“The best day apart from winning the stage was helping Jonas in the final climbs. The worst day was when Primož left because he was very strong. And the heroes for me are all on this team who kept fighting to the end. ”

Brandon McNulty (UAE-Team Emirates) – 69th overall; 11. in last time trial

McNulty was a late addition to the UAE Emirates Tour team, and it turned out to be a smart addition.

The American Tour rookie lived up to the challenge and helped the pace with Pogačar over several important mountain stages. McNulty was part of a team that some considered young and inexperienced, but took up to prove the critics wrong by wearing Pogačar all the way to Paris in yellow.

A crash in the first trial period saw McNulty unable to test himself against the clock in the first week, but he rode to a solid 11th in the final TT to finish the trip on a high note.

McNulty is running in the Olympics, where he will be an outsider for a medal in the time trial.

“I’m glad it’s over and now we can celebrate. It was super-special and I have never had an experience like this. The trip? The trip is the trip, the first week is stressful, maybe I was lucky to get out on the winning team on my first try. [Monday] I fly to Tokyo and take a short break, then we’ll see how the second half of the year takes shape. ”

Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo) – 43rd overall; 13. and S15

Back on his second trip, Powless avoided the crashes that marred the opening week. After running into several major breaks in his Tour debut last year, Powless turned to assisting captain Rigoberto Urán, who drove into second place in the Pyrenees until he faltered in the final mountain stages.

Powless ran into a couple of key outbursts, including finishing 13th in the stage in Andorra.

“It is quite nice to have reached Paris, and I feel quite lucky not to have crashed in such a crazy Tour. I think we had a really good time supporting Rigo for a while. I think the overall atmosphere of the team was really nice throughout the race. It was just a great experience, Rigos was such a relaxed leader and we had a pretty young team here so everyone was really happy to run and always do something every day so it was great just to be a part of the race from start to finish Exit. “

Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation): DNS S19; 3. S8, 5. S14

Woods crashed early to sink his GC ambitions and switched to stage hunting mode.

The former runner became one of the most aggressive riders in the Tour, running into several winning breaks and animating the race. His reward was two top-5s in stages, and new confidence he can perform at the highest level.

The Canadian was also on the hunt for polka-dot best climbing jersey before succumbing to the Pyrenees. Woods pulled the plug early to prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo, where he will be one of the medal favorites in road racing.

“Made the tough decision not to start today. After the two crashes, and with the Olympics on the horizon, became [team] and I decided that the best move was to let my body recover. This has been incredible the last few weeks and now I have to recharge my batteries and focus on Tokyo. ”

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