Nice: Tadej Pogacar won cycling’s Paris-Nice on Sunday when his solo triumph on the Riviera town’s iconic Promenade des Anglais propelled the UAE Emirates rider to a crushing overall victory on his first entry to the eight-day event.
The Slovenian, a double Tour de France winner, finished alone to clinch a third individual stage on the race, bowing to the crowds as he crossed the line, with Frenchman David Gaudu ending second overall and Jonas Vingegaard in third.
“It was always my dream to win Paris-Nice,” the 24-year-old Slovenian said.
“The competition here was really huge. To be alongside David Gaudu and Jonas Vingegaard on the podium is special,” Pogacar said.
The grand finale of 'The Race to the Sun' once again took the riders into the hills behind Nice that have provoked so much last-gasp drama in recent editions, but Pogacar took any tension out of the equation with a dominant display.
The numbers on Pogacar's palmarès are adding up fast. This double takes his victory tally for the season to nine after just 13 days of racing, his career tally to 55 in the third month of his fifth season as a pro.
In a race famous for being decided by the finest margins, his final victory margin of 53 seconds was the biggest in a decade, and that's after sitting up in the home straight to take a bow.
Pogacar has changed his schedule this season in a bid to regain the Tour de France title he let slip to Vingegaard in 2022.
He was leading going into Sunday’s mountainous stage in the Nice back-country and made a solo break on the final climb
“I really know these roads,”said the Monaco resident. I knew exactly how my legs were on the final climb. I was really good with maths today. I calculated it great.”
On the map
The FDJ Groupama rider Gaudu also put himself on the season’s map with this performance.
“It’s a super result, it’s not always you can go on the podium in a World Tour stage race,” said the French climber.
“Pogacar was the strongest. There was nothing much you could do.”
Danish Tour de France champion Vingegaard of Jumbo came third after a mini-meltdown this week, when he lost time after attacking too hard.
“I still have to improve,” he said Sunday.