photo credits @ Paris-Nice
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) regained control of Paris-Nice today, after the Slovenia rider climbed his way to victory in stage 4, riding away from his Tour de France rival Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) to win atop La Loge des Gardes
Having already responded to an opening attack from Vingegaard, Pogačar bridged his way across to a subsequent attack from David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), out-sprinting the French rider atop the 6.7%, while also vanquishing his main rival in the process.
Meanwhile, Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) finished in third to grab the final spot on the podium.
“I was a little bit [surprised],” Pogačar said of Vingegaard’s demise. “First he launched the attack and thought he was feeling super super great, so I didn’t counter – I was waiting for the rest.
“In the end, it was really tough and I think he just missed a little bit to catch me then he couldn’t close and cracked a little bit.
Pogačar moved into the yellow jersey as the new overall leader, his time gaps buffeted by yet more time bonuses. Not only did he collect 10 seconds for the stage win, he’d also grabbed one at the intermediate sprint to take his collection for Paris-Nice to 23 seconds – the exact amount of time he conceded to Vingegaard in Tuesday’s team time trial.
Pogačar has a 10-second lead over second-placed Gaudu, who also had a strong TTT, while Vingegaard is in third place but some 44 seconds down. Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) at 56 seconds is the only other rider within a minute of Pogačar.
“It was not in my mind to take yellow today, but you don’t say no to yellow, so I’m happy,” Pogačar said.
The 164.7km run from Saint-Amand-Montrond to La Loge des Gardes was spiced up by howling winds, with a seven-strong breakaway eventually getting clear. The remnants of that break – Lilian Calmejane (Intermarche–Circus–Wanty) and Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X) – were swept up with 15km remaining at the final intermediate sprint, with Pogacar snaring another two bonus seconds to add to his six from Stages 1 and 2.
Ineos Grenadiers set the tempo as the race hit the 6.7km final climb, with Vingegaard and Pogačar soon filtering into second and third in the bike train as race leader Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) slipped off the back to signal a change at the top of GC.
Vingegaard was first to attack, punching clear of all but one rider. Sadly for him, that rider was Pogačar and the pair soon dallied, inviting their wounded rivals back into the frame and encouraging Gaudu to launch a surprise attack.
But Pogačar was only getting started and soon set off in pursuit of the Frenchman. His attack initially cracked, and then broke, Vingegaard as he sailed up the road, briefly working with Gaudu before claiming yet another win.
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