Slovenian riders in lead of two UCI World Tour races

ALTO DA FÓIA, PORTUGAL - FEBRUARY 21: Arrival / Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and Team UAE - Team Emirates / Celebration / during the 45th Volta ao Algarve, Stage 2 a 187,4 km stage from Almodôvar to Alto Da Fóia 900m / VA / @VAlgarve2019 / on February 21, 2019 in Alto Da Fóia, Portugal. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Paris/Pescara – Slovenian riders took the lead in two elite stage races that are part of the UCI World Tour on Thursday. Primož Roglič put on the leader’s yellow jersey in the 5th stage of the Paris-Nice race as Tadej Pogačar won the 4th stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race to take the overall lead.

Roglič, who rides for the Dutch team Jumbo Visma, finished the 189km stage between Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert and Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut as 25th, coming in with the first group with a lag of 5:43 minutes behind the winner, Brandon McNulty, the 23-year-old American UAE rider.

The latter broke away 40 kilometres to the finish line, on the climb to the Col de Mure. The tempo proved too hard for Belgian Wout van Aert, who had to concede the lead to Roglič. The Slovenian is now 39 seconds ahead of Briton Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and 41 ahead of French Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies).

“This jersey is a big honour. I had to try, that’s all we had now with the team. I was talking with Brandon [McNulty] this morning and I knew he wanted to make the break […] He definitely was the strongest today. If I had gone his pace, I would have quickly exploded,” said Roglič for the organisers.

McNulty secured the 14th stage win for the UAE Emirates team this season as his teammate Tadej Pogačar went on to clinch the 15th for his 5th this season by winning the fourth stage of the Race of the Two Seas in Italy to climb from third to first overall.

Pogačar attacked on the last kilometre of today’s stage, but no other rider responded to the challenge. Roglič’s teammate, Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark, came closest, two seconds behind, as much as Victor Lafay of France and Belgian Remco Evenepoel, who is now second overall, nine seconds behind Pogačar.

“A great effort of the team, we pulled all day, and I was thinking that if I did not give it a go it would be a bad day for us,” Pogačar said on Eurosport. “We did it right and in the end it was a good day for the victory.”