Team Emirates’ Pogacar wins 13th stage, Roglic extends lead - GulfToday

Team Emirates’ Pogacar wins 13th stage, Roglic extends lead

Team Emirates’ Pogacar wins 13th stage, Roglic extends lead

UAE Team Emirates rider Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar (left) crosses the finish line followed by Team Jumbo rider Primoz Roglic during the 13th stage of the Tour of Spain on Friday. Agence France-Presse

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar mastered the mountainous Vuelta a Espana 13th stage on Friday with his compatriot Primoz Roglic consolidating his grip on the leader’s red jersey.

The stamina sapping 166.4-kilometre ride featuring seven climbs saw Pogacar attacking on the brutal final ‘hors categorie’ ascent to Los Machucos.

Pogacar now sits just over three minutes behind the race leader Roglic and 46” off a second place spot, behind World Champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). He also leads Miguel Angel Lopez by 17” at the top of the Youth Classification.

On his current form Pogacar said: “At the start I didn’t know I would feel so good on the last climb. In fact, I just wanted to survive because after stage 7, my goal was simply to not lose too much time. But in the end it was an incredible day for me.

“When I heard over the radio that nobody was following me and Roglic, I realised that it was a good opportunity to go for the stage. And with Roglic it’s always difficult to go against him because he’s really strong. I could do that today and I’m really, really happy,” he added.

While the 20-year-old (riding for UAE Emirates) was the day’s winner, Roglic, who crossed the finish line in second, took a giant stride towards overall victory in Madrid on Sunday week.

The day didn’t start out well for the Emirati formation, with news that Fabio Aru would retire from La Vuelta after experiencing muscular damage in his leg that was worsening as the race went on.

However, all that was forgotten as the stage reached the business end and a select group of 29 GC riders hit the bottom of Las Machucos – the seventh categorized climb of the afternoon

He extended his lead over Alejandro Valverde at the top of the general classification to two minutes and 25 seconds.

Miguel Angel Lopez and Nairo Quintana, two other key challengers to win Cycling’s third Grand Tour of the year, are now trailing by 3min 18sec and 3min 33sec respectively ahead of the 14th stage after being left in Roglic’s wake.

Pogacar is now third in the standings ahead of Lopez and Quintana at 3min 01sec.

The sprinters will be far more suited to Saturday’s 188km ride with an anticipated mass sprint finish in Oviedo.

The stage should allow Roglic and his main title rivals to draw breath ahead of a return to the mountains on Sunday.

Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates has dispatched a team with serious firepower to a weekend of racing split between Belgium and France for the Brussels Cycling Classic (190.5 km) followed the GP de Fourmies (205 km) on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th respectively. The squad will be led by Norwegian fast man Alexander Kristoff, with both Roberto Ferrari and Jasper Phillipsen backing him up in the sprint finishes.

Kristoff heads to the race in good form: “At the Deutschland Tour I felt good, even in the toughest parts. They are very interesting signs for me ahead of the season finale and the world championships.

For the Brussels Classic and GP Fourmies, I will try to be in the thick of the action, aiming for good results. The team will be competitive, with a good group of riders to prepare for the sprint.”

Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz cannot compete in the Tour of Britain as he has not been granted a visa on time, his Movistar Team announced on Friday.

Ecuadoran Carapaz, set to join Team Ineos next season, had been due to race alongside fellow Tour of Britain debutant and team-mate Mikel Landa in the race starting on Saturday.

Movistar said in a statement: “Sadly, and despite the Movistar Team following all procedures, Richard Carapaz’s visa for the Tour of Britain has not been granted in time for him to travel.”

The team said Hector Carretero would be replacing the 26-year-old, who won his first Grand Tour event in Italy earlier this year.

Team Ineos this week confirmed the signing of Carapaz from the start of the 2020 season.

He will be joining an impressive stable of riders that includes Tour de France winners Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal.

The Tour of Britain starts in Glasgow on Saturday and finishes in Manchester on Sept.14.