Tadej Pogacar: Tour of California was my main goal
19 May 2019 03:11
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) may not have the grizzled demeanor of a well-seasoned GC rider, but the 20-year-old put away some of the top riders in the world this week on his way to winning the 2019 Tour of California. Pogacar climbed the general classification with fourth place on the high-altitude climbing leg to South Lake Tahoe on stage 2, and then weathered the storms and attacks over the next three days to set himself up for victory with a winning ride on Mt. Baldy ahead of Sergio Higuita (EF Education First), George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) on stage 6 on Friday. It has been the culmination of a neo-pro season with UAE Team Emirates that saw Pogacar take both a stage and the overall victory earlier this year at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.ADVERTISEMENT "This race was my main goal this year," the well-spoken Slovenian said at the post-race press conference in Pasadena. "I knew that I was well prepared, but I surprised myself a bit that I took the overall win. I am really happy and looking forward to returning next year." Pogacar rode a smart race throughout the week, going with the right moves on the way to Tahoe and then conserving his energy for the 'queen stage' up Mt. Baldy on the penultimate day. His tactical prowess proved itself again on the final climb of the day, when he rode within himself as attacks went up the road, and he had the confidence to wait until the right time to make his own counter attack. While more experienced riders floundered, Pogacar thrived. His final act included snaking past Higuita in the final corner by slowing a bit going into the bend and taking the quicker inside line to the finish, seizing the win and a 10-second time bonus that added to his final buffer. Pogacar told the media he'd learned his tactics from 10 years of racing with great coaches.
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