Powerful Pogacar takes control of Tour of Catalonia

cycling19 March 2024 12:00| © AFP
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Tadej Pogacar © Getty Images

Dominant two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar earned his second win of the season on Tuesday by comfortably taking the second stage of the Tour of Catalonia.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, who said he "messed up" at the end of Monday's first stage as he reacted too late to catch Nick Schultz's sprint to the line, made no such mistake on day two and became the new race leader.

The Slovenian was favourite to triumph in the mountains and after attacking with 6.5 kilometres remaining, could not be caught in a rainy finish.

Pogacar completed the 186.5km trail from Mataro to Vallter nearly a minute and a half ahead of his closest contenders Mikel Landa and Aleksandr Vlasov, taking control of the general classification.

The 25-year-old made the 11km climb to the finish with an average gradient of nearly eight percent look easy and only seven riders finished within two minutes of him.

"We started with nice weather, like summer, and then we saw these clouds, and we were thinking that maybe we could survive until the final climb without rain, but unfortunately, it started to rain on the second-to-last climb," said Pogacar.

"The conditions were tough -- it was a hard climb, and you could feel the altitude, but I'm happy to win."

He leads the race by one minute and 35 seconds from Soudal-QuickStep's Spanish rider Landa.

Wednesday's stage three offers another chance for Pogacar, aiming for an ambitious Giro-Tour double in 2024, to shine.

It is another mountainous stage, stretching 176.7km from Sant Joan de les Abadesses to Port Aine, with an 18km climb to the finish.