UAE Team Emirates’ young Slovenian talent Tadej Pogacar shone as brightly as the Portuguese sunshine Sunday, closing out the five day Tour of the Algarve by winning the General Classification (GC) in the team’s first stage race win of the season.
Still wearing the yellow leader’s jersey that he earned on stage two, Pogacar battled hard fighting off the continued attacks of his GC rivals over a 173.5km course that ended with a 3km climb into Malhao.
The 20-year-old rising star finished sixth in the final stage, just 18 seconds behind Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and 15 seconds from his most dangerous rival Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb).
His consistency throughout the race, along with the support provided by his team mates, allowed Pogacar to keep a 14 second gap on Kragh Andersen and take the top podium spot above the Danish rider and Wout Poels (Team Sky), who finished third, 21 seconds behind the eventual winner.
Commenting on his first stage race win on the WorldTour, Pogacar said: “I achieved a dream today. And to win a stage race so early in my professional career is hard to believe. I began without thinking of the overall, but after the crash in the first stage that ruled out the designated captains, I found myself at the front and the stage win gave me the yellow jersey. My team-mates’ support reinforced my belief and my place at the front.”
The result will be yet another boost for UAE Team Emirates who have now taken six stage wins as well as the General Classification win on the professional road racing circuit. These achievements are in addition to the Emirati National Time Trial Championship earned by Yousif Mirza on Saturday.
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