The Slovenia Times

Braving cold and rain, Pogačar takes another stage at Giro d'Italia

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 16 of Giro d'Italia. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Tadej Pogačar has further solidified his dominance at the Giro d'Italia, winning his fifth stage victory at the race on shortened stage 16 in cold and rainy conditions.

The Slovenian UAE Team Emirates rider spent most of the stage in the peloton, launching an attack just 1.4 kilometres to go to the summit finish at Santa Cristina Valgardena.

He reeled in Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani CSF), who finished in second, followed by Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe) in third. Both crossed the finish line with a gap of 16 seconds.

Talking to the Slovenian reporters, Pogačar said his team was not going after a stage win today, hoping instead for a more quiet day of riding. "The plan was to ride as conservatively as possible, but Movistar had a different plan."

"Somehow, they got us through to the end. Domen, too, was with us nearly until the end," Pogačar said of Domen Novak, the only other Slovenian UAE team member riding the Giro this year.

"But then Rafal and I decided to give it a go on the final climb, feel out the competition," the 25-year-old said in reference to his domestique Rafal Majka.

"Chapeau to Pellizzario. He deserved to win as well," said Pogačar after giving his pink sunglasses and the jersey to the 20-year-old runner-up after the stage.

"He is young and he rode amazingly today, and I believe he can still win a stage this week," Pogačar said about the youngest rider in this year's Giro.

"He's a fan and we met at Strade Bianche in Siena in 2019 ... He sent me a photo [of us together] the first week of the Giro. When I saw him nearly succeed today, I was very proud. He came to me and asked if he could have my glasses for his brother. But he also earned the pink jersey."

Pogačar has been wearing the leader's pink jersey since stage 2 and currently has a lead of 7:18 minutes on Martinez in the general classification, who came ahead to push Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grendiers) into third place, with a gap of 7:40.

The day was marked by negotiations between the organisers and the cyclists, ultimately resulting in the starting line being moved 90 kilometres into the original stage route to skip the Umbrail pass at 2,500 metres of altitude due to winter conditions.

Instead of Livigno, the stage started in Prato allo Stelvio and ended in Val Gardena.


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