Pogačar and Roglič sweep two elite stage races
Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič switched places to secure the titles of two elite UCI World Tour stage races for a second year in a row on 12 March. Tadej Pogačar took the overall title in his Paris-Nice debut as Primož Roglič won Tirreno-Adriatico.
The two-times Tour de France champion, Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) attacked on the final climb to cruise to victory in the final stage for a hat trick of stage wins.
The 24-year-old finished the stage 33 seconds ahead of Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and French David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) for a combined 53-second lead ahead of the latter in the final overall standings.
Apart from securing the overall winner's yellow jersey, he also took home the green jersey for the top points winner and the white jersey for best young rider. Dane Jonas Gregaard's (Uno-X) secured the polka-dot jersey for best climber.
"I always feel I'm good in the first races," said Pogačar. "It was always my dream to win Paris-Nice. The fact I did it is incredible," Pogačar said.
"They say attack is the best defence. I really know these roads. I've done a lot of training here. I knew exactly how my legs were on the final climb and how much [energy] I could spend to get to the top," said Pogačar.
He lives in Monte Carlo, just a few kilometres away from the hilltop village of Eze, so he knew how to master all the climbs in the final stage.
"If I don't win anything else until the end of the season it's still not bad so I can be more relaxed now," he said, adding it was a great honour to share the podium with top-class riders Gaudu and Vingegaard.
This is Pogačar's 55th career win and ninth this season. He has won 13 multi-day races in his career so far, which puts him in fourth place among active cyclists, behind Colombia's Nairo Quintana (20) and Roglič and Brit Chris Froome, who are tied at 17.
Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) secured his 17th career multi-day race title in Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy, having won three back-to-back stage wins in the previous days. Overall, Roglič, 33, has won 69 races.
The final stage in the Race of the Two Seas was tailored for sprinters. Belgium's Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) finished first, followed by Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla) and Italy's Alberto Dainese (Team DSM).
Overall, Roglič finished the race 18 seconds ahead of Portugal's Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). Brit Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) was third, 23 seconds adrift.
In addition to the blue jersey of the general classification winner, Pogačar also secured the violet jersey for top points scorer and the green one for topping the mountains classification. The white jersey of the best young rider went to Almeida.
Roglič was back at Tirreno-Adriatico after winning the race in 2019. Last year the race, which takes rides from the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea on Italy's west coast to the Adriatic Sea in the east, was won by Pogačar, as Roglič won Paris-Nice.
"It's great to come back and win. I had fun throughout the week, " Roglič commented, thanking his team for helping him achieve the feat.
Next for Pogačar is Milan-San Remo on 18 March, while Roglič is due to appear in the race of Catalonia on 20-26 March.