The royal fourth stage of the Cycling Race around Slovenia was again marked by Tadej Pogačar and the Pole Rafal Majka, who hit the finish line on Velika planina. Majka won the stage, Pogačar remains in the green.
It was a show of teammates from the UAE Emirates team, which was attended by thousands of fans in an extraordinary atmosphere. They attacked Velika planina five kilometers before the end of the final slope (8.2 km; slope 7.6%) and jokingly distanced themselves from their rivals. Most of the time, the pace was dictated by Majka, but Pogačar also dragged when needed. Three kilometers before the end, they already had a 40-second advantage.
Laughter, handshake and hugs
In the end, they drove shoulder to shoulder, laughed in the last kilometer, and Pogačar even shook hands with the fan. One hundred meters before the finish line, the heroes of the stage congratulated each other and came to the finish line together. Pogačar left the victory to Majka, but the Slovenian remained in the green jersey. The first pursuer, a Spaniard Fernando Barcelocame to the finish line 22 seconds behind.
Pogačar leads by three seconds, Novak remains third
Before the last stage, Pogačar has a total of three seconds ahead of Majka. He retained third place Domen Novak (+1: 56), but the Italian Vicenzo Albanese with the fifth place (+0: 24) reduced the gap to the cyclist Bahrain Victorious to 11 seconds.
For the third time in this year’s race, Pogačar and Majka competed in unison. It was similar on Wednesday, when the Pole celebrated in Postojna, and on Friday, when the strongest cyclist from Klanac near Komenda was on the ascent to Celje Castle. This stage also took the cyclists through Komenda and Klanec, where a huge number of spectators also gathered.
“Thank you Tadej and thank you to the whole team for such an outcome … We know Tadej is the strongest, but in the end he told me I could take the stage. I am very happy, we have the lead in the overall standings and we will confirm that tomorrow,” said 32-year-old Majka, the winner of the 2017 Tour of Slovenia, for TV Slovenia.
“For me, it was great to drive through Tadej’s hometown, where there was an indescribable crowd. It’s amazing how cycling gained popularity in Slovenia. When I won here five years ago, there weren’t that many people by the road, but now the atmosphere is fantastic. . “
Nine fugitives in the forefront more than 100 kilometers
After about 20 kilometers of the 152.1 km long stage from Laško to Velika planina, an escape group of nine was formed, which together went through the first three categorized ascents of the day to Jesenovo, Trojane (both 3rd category) and Črnivec (2nd category) . Croatian Viktor Potočki won all three mountain goals. The breakaways, including David Per, also had a five-minute advantage, but the majority caught them after more than 100 kilometers of independent driving at the beginning of the ascent to Velika planina.
On Sunday, the race will end with a stage from Vrhnika to Novo mesto.