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Tadej Pogacar all but seals Giro d’Italia with magnificent solo victory
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Tadej Pogacar all but seals Giro d’Italia with magnificent solo victory

Tadej Pogacar has shown his absolute domination of this year’s Giro d’Italia again, riding away solo to win stage 20, his sixth stage victory, as he extended his overall lead going into the final day.

Pogacar could afford to wave to the crowd in the closiong stages of the 184km route from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa as the UAE Team Emirates rider powered home to put a roughly 10-minute gap between himself and his closest rivals in the general classification.

The Slovenian already had an overall lead of 7min 42sec over Daniel Felipe Martínez of Bora-Hansgrohe, and when he made his move on the day’s second climb of Monte Grappa, nobody could keep pace.

Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale), winner of stage 10, came in second as he outsprinted Martínez who finished third, more than two minutes behind Pogacar. The Welshman Geraint Thomas, riding for Ineos Grenadiers, finished with the same time as Martínez and remains third overall.

At the beginning of the first ascent to Monte Grappa, a leading group of 11 riders began to split, and Pelayo Sánchez, Jimmy Janssens and Alessandro Tonelli took to the front.

A view from the mountains to the sea during stage 20View image in fullscreen

UAE Emirates had controlled the peloton, happy to allow the group to stay away before the climbs, but never allowing the gap to exceed four minutes as Pogacar steadied himself for another stage win. Pogacar said: “Rui [Oliveira] and [Sebastián] Molano did a great job until the first climb then Vegard [Stake Laengen] and Mikkel [Bjerg] set a really good pace on the first part of the climb, which I was really happy with,.”

At the top of the first climb, the leading trio were overtaken by Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) after he escaped from the peloton and on the second climb the young Italian left the others behind.

On stage 16, Pellizzari was denied the win when Pogacar caught him in the final kilometre and this time the leader made his move with 36km to go, easily reeling in the Italian before taking off alone.

“The uphill we set as we said it in the meeting,” Pogacar said. “It was perfect and I was so happy that I had a good gap on the top and I didn’t need to go full gas on the downhill.”

Sunday’s final stage will be a 125km procession into Rome, where Pogacar will surely be crowned Giro winner after leading since winning stage two. He said: “We wanted the pink jersey from stage two, a lot of obligations every day, a lot of things to do all day … I wanted to finish the Giro with good mentality and good shape and I think I achieved that.

“I’ve never been in Rome before, but I’m going to enjoy it for sure.”

Wiebes doubles up

Lorena Wiebes recorded a second stage win in two days in the RideLondon Classique on Saturday. The Dutch rider, who won Friday’s opening stage in Colchester, came out on top again in a sprint finish to win the 143km run in Maldon, Essex.

She finished in three hours 33:26 minutes, with Charlotte Kool of the Netherlands second and Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky in third. Wiebes has a 20-second lead over Kopecky in the general classification going into Sundy’s third and final stage.

“I was able to get two times the full bonus seconds on the climb,” Wiebes said afterwards. “I enjoyed today.”

The final stage of 91.2km will start in London, finishing at The Mall in Westminster. Guardian sport

Source: theguardian.com