Dubai: Tadej Pogacar put in a determined display on Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico (Castellalto-Castelfidardo, 205km), finishing second 10 seconds behind winner Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). The Slovenian can take heart having distanced his main rivals for the general classification and putting on an exciting display.
On what was a very demanding stage, with five climbs of the Castelfidardo ‘wall’ (1,500m at 10 per cent gradient) made even more difficult by bad weather.
It was Van der Poel who played the protagonist for the majority of the race, with an attack 66km from the finish that led him to reach the final 20km with a 3:40″ advantage over the chasing group of top riders.
The Slovenian from UAE Team Emirates decided to unleash his power on the penultimate lap, opening up a 39s advantage on Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and 21s on Sergio Higuita (EF-Nippo), second and third respectively in the general classification.
Pogacar gradually narrowed the gap to Van der Poel, coming within close reach of the Dutchman.
To underline the good performance of UAE Team Emirates, Davide Formolo came home in sixth place (+2:17) having worked hard earlier in the stage to defend the leader’s jersey.
The good form of Pogacar is reflected in the standings — he solidified his role in the general classification standings, with his advantage now extended up to 1:15 on Van Aert, as well as in the standings for the best young rider and mountain rider.
“I attacked with the intention of widening my lead in the overall standings as much as possible, and I got an extra boost when I saw that my action had put Wout Van Aert in trouble,” said Pogacar. “I had no thought to take Van der Poel back, but I almost managed to catch him. Many compliments to Mathieu, once again he did a great ride, it was not easy to be in the lead for so many kilometres alone in this stage and in this weather.
“The advantage over Van Aert is certainly more comfortable than what I had this morning, I would be happy to start in the time trial with this situation but it’s still quite tight.”
The sixth stage is from Castelraimondo and will end in Lido di Fermo after 169km. The last 45km will be on a circuit, to be repeated four times
Fifth stage results
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:48.17
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +10s
3. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +49s
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 22h:41.41
2. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +1:15
3. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +3:00