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Carpegna (Italy) (AFP) – Tadej Pogačar was the fastest both in the mountains and downhill, as he won the sixth stage of Tirreno-Adriatica on Saturday, thus increasing the overall lead.
The campaign focused on two ascents to Monte Carpegna in the last 32 kilometers of the 215-kilometer stage from Apecchio to the city of Carpegna.
While Pogacar, who started the day nine seconds ahead of Belgian Remco Evenepoel, remained in the blue jersey of the leader, the places behind him shook.
When the peloton disintegrated on the first ascent, Pogacar, a Slovenian riding for the UAE team, was part of a group of 21 cyclists who transformed a long escape.
On the second ascent, Pogačar attacked and left his rivals behind.
The longest stay at Pogacar was the Dane Jonas Vingegaard, who drives for Jumba, and the Spaniard Mikel Landa from Bahrain, but they fell about four kilometers from the top.
“I had good legs,” Pogacar said. “We decided to go for it. I went to the top at the best pace. I was trying to warm up. It was super cold today.”
Pogačar increased his advantage on a demanding, snowy descent, where others struggled.
Richie Porte, an Australian veteran with Ineos, missed the corner while Enric Mas, a Spaniard at Movistar, crashed.
At the finish line, Vingegaard complained that there was gravel on the road left behind due to melting snow.
Pogacar finished a minute and three seconds ahead of Vingegaard and Land.
Porte was in fourth place 31 seconds ago.
All three rose in the rankings. Vingegaard, who finished second behind Pogacar in last year’s Tour de France, takes the same place in 1 min 52 seconds, Landa is third and Porte fourth.
Pogačar thanked his teammates.
“When the boys are dragging against the wind at 200km all day, winning the stage on such an important day is a good feeling,” he said.
The race ends on Sunday with a mostly flat 159 km long lap starting and ending in the Adriatic port of San Benedetto Del Tronto.
Pogačar looks confident that he will keep the title and continue the dominant start of the season.
“We have to stay calm for another stage,” Pogacar said.
This is his third race of the season, and he won the first two, the UAE Tour and the Strade Bianche, a one-day classic.
Pogačar said he intends to pay off the debt by working for his team’s German sprinter Pascal Ackermann, “if he recovers from those days” in the mountains.
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