Stage victory after duel with Roglic
Tadej Pogačar put in a determined performance to take stage 3 of the Itzulia Basque Country (167.7 km starting from Amurrio and finishing in Ermualde): at the end of an intense head-to-head, the UAE Team Emirates star outfoxed Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) in the battle for stage success.
The scene of the Slovenian duel was the Ermualde climb (3.1 km with stretches of 20%), where Pogačar made his move with -2.6 km, then again at -2 km, at -1.8 km and at -1.5 km, always being followed by Roglic. At 1000 meters from the finish, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) returned to the Slovenian duo, but on the last climb Pogačar and Roglic went again, with the UAE Team Emirates leader coming out on top in the final dash.
Brandon McNulty put in a very solid ride to come home in 10th place (+18 ”), now 3rd in the general classification (+30” from Primoz Roglic) in which Tadej Pogačar moved up to 2nd position (+20 ”from his compatriot). The winner of the 2020 Tour de France is now the new leader of the youth ranking.
This marks the twenty-second career success for Pogačar (first at Itzulia Basque Country), and the eighth win of the season for UAE Team Emirates.
Pogačar: “In the morning we had gone by car to see the finish and the team manager Matxin had explained the route to me well, so I was aware of the toughness of the climb and I knew that it would be crucial to be in first position on the final crest to launch well into the final meters downhill towards the finish. This success makes me very happy because, after racing here in the Basque Country two years ago, I have always had the ambition to come back and do well : it is a very beautiful race and the enthusiasm of the fans is really amazing.
There are still three days of racing, all quite hard. I’m pretty optimistic because the condition is good and the team is racing very well together”.
The Itzulia Basque Country will not give the riders too much time to relax with the 4th stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Hondarribia (190 km) including 4 categorised climbs.
Order of arrival 3rd stage
1. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) 4h04’50 “
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +5 ”
General classification after the 3rd stage
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 8h07’48 ”
2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) +20 “
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +30 “