Pogačar takes the stage and the green jersey
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) showed his dominance on today’s stage from Žalec to Celje castle. He crossed the finish line a full minute and 22 second ahead of the fellow Slovenian Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious). Tadej is the new overall leader on the race.
Tadej Pogačar said that he wants to win Tour of Slovenia – today he additional showed that he’ll not leave anything to coincidence. Stage from Žalec to Celje had some proper climbs, also a short, but punchy finish climb. However, the race developed on the pre-last mountain of Svetina where Tadej attacked and took a massive lead.
Pogačar attacked with the help of his teammates Diego Ulissi and Rafaj Majka but left the duo and continued solo towards the mountain finish Svetina. Matteo Sobrero (Astana – Premier Tech) was also there and tried to follow Tadej but Tour de France champion was too strong. The rest of the field dropped even further behind, and only regrouped after the slippery descent from Svetina and before the final stretch of road towards Celje castle.
Tadej won the stage with big smile on his face, Matej Mohorič was second after a great comeback, Diego Ulissi was third.
Tadej Pogačar: »This stage was on the race three years ago, but it was hotter than today and my legs were not as strong. I felt super good today and went full gas. But I always knew that I have to be careful today, descents on this stage are very tricky.« Everyone expected to see favorites up in the front today, but a final attack for the green jersey was though to happen on Saturday queen stage. Tadej had different plans: »I really like this stage, it’s a classic on Tour de France. I prefer it over the one on Saturday and this is why I decided to attack. But I didn’t expect to finish with such a gap.«
Mohorič won a sprint for the second place, Ulissi and Sobrero crossed the finish line with the same time.
Best young rider on the race was Kristjan Hočevar (Adria Mobil Cycling) – he took 15th place and is now in the white jersey. »Team did a great job taking me to the last climb in the very front of the group. I gave everything I had, but guys in the front were just too strong. I'm glad to be in the white, I will work hard to bring it all the way to Novo mesto.«
Tadej is new leader on the race, he also holds a lead in the mountains classifications.
Third stage will take riders from Brežice to Krško.
Photos by Sportida