SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Two stage races. Two overall victories. Tadej Pogacar is preparing perfectly to defend his. The Slovenian won the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico race by a comfortable margin ahead of a stellar field Tuesday, adding to his last month.
“What a fantastic start to the season,” Pogacar said. “This is one of the biggest one-week races.” After placing fourth in the concluding, Pogacar finished 1 minute, 3 seconds ahead of Wout van Aert in the overall standings of the sea-to-sea race. Mikel Landa finished third overall, 3:57 behind. , the 2019 Tour winner, finished fourth, more than 4 minutes behind Pogacar.
The 22-year-old Pogacarand the Tirreno, taking Saturday’s “queen” leg that finished with a grueling climb to Prati di Tivo. Pogacar also gained time against all his overall rivals in Sunday’s fifth stage, which featured a circuit over a series of short climbs or “walls” when he nearly caught breakaway rider, .
“Stage 5 in the cold, wet weather. That’s the , who rides for the UAE Team Emirates. , who rides for the Jumbo-Visma team, won the time trial for his second stage win of the race.
clocked 11:06 along the flat 10.1-kilometer (6.3-mile) route in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast. European champion Stefan Kung finished second, six seconds behind, and world champion Filippo Ganna was third, 11 seconds back – ending his winning streak in at eight.
“I’m improving in this discipline every year a little bit,”said. “It was my first time aiming for GC in a stage race, and I only got beaten by the Tour de France . I’ll more of this in the future, but I have the classics in my mind for now, starting with Milano-Sanremo.” Pogacar finished one second behind Ganna on the stage.
Up next on the World Tour calendar is theclassic, although Pogacar is not entering that race. He’ll next compete in the Tour of the Basque Country in April, followed by the Fleche . The multi-talented stage in a sprint. He’ll be looking to defend his Milan-San Remo title. “But first,” he said, “I want to rest a little bit.”
“I felt perfect this, and I saw last year that I improved my form afterward,” the Belgian rider said. “Now, I’ve got to recover as well as possible. “But I saw a lot of strong riders this week,” added, “so I’m not the only favorite.” Tadej Pogačar’s Tour title defense on track with Tirreno victory originally appeared on NBCSports.com