News | E3 Saxo Bank Classic | Volta a Catalunya • March 24, 2023
Double podium for UAE Team Emirates as Pogačar and Almeida shine
Pogačar 3rd in Belgium, Almeida does it in Catalunya
The season of cobbles has opened in Belgium with the E3 Saxo Classic, which provided an entertaining race around Flanders which presented the riders with 204km including 17 bergs and 10 sections of pavé.
The race came alive on the cobbles of the Taaienberg 78km from the finish with a first push by Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) with Pogačar following close behind who having initially missed the first attack.
The Slovenian was good at resisting the various attacks of his opponents and then launching his own on Paterberg and Kwaremont less than 40km from the finish, finding only Van Der Poel and Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) for company.
The new leading trio accumulated more and more advantage over the chasers thanks also to the continued attacks of Pogačar.
At the last kilometre, Pogačar tried again to surprise his rivals, but in the end had to surrender to the faster guys, thus closing the race in third position.
Pogačar: “Despite the result, I’m happy with my performance. I still have to learn a lot from these races and in fact already at Taaienberg I wasn’t in the right position and I immediately wasted some energy to close the gap that had arisen. I want to take it as a lesson in order to give the best to Flanders next week. I tried a couple of times to attack, especially on Kwaremont which is the climb that best suits my characteristics, but Van Der Poel and Van Aert were ready and knew how to respond best.”
E3 Saxo Classic results
1. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 4h.44′.59”
2. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) st.
3. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) st.
The third and final uphill finish in today’s fifth stage took place at the Volta a Catalunya.
The finish line in Lo Port arrived after 9.4km with an average gradient of 8% and sections up to 20%.
Several attacks characterized the day, but everything was decided in the last kilometers of the race. At -6.5 km the last man in the break was caught by the group, after which it was Evenepoel’s attack (Soudal-Quick Step) at -4.6 km that enlivened the finale.
At first only Marc Soler and Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) were able to withstand the Belgian’s attack. Then thanks to his usual stubbornness and the help of his teammate, Joao Almeida managed to climb back up to the leading trio.
However, the response from Roglic and Evenepoel was not long in coming. The two caught up and overtook the Portuguese who finished the stage in third place, thus also entering the top-3 of the General Classification with two more stages to go.
Marc Soler finished 4th in the stage and is now 5th in the General.
Tomorrow the riders will face 183.2 km winding starting from Martorell and finishing in Molins de Rei.
Almeida: “It was a good day, pretty easy until the final climb. The team did a perfect job in terms of positioning me and I was feeling good. When Remco and Roglic went I decided to do my own pace and Marc could go with them. I tried to go for the stage but there were two stronger guys today.”
5th stage results:
1.Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4h27’41”
2.Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) +6”
3.Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +12”
4.Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +28”
General classification after the 5th stage:
1.Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 21h29’25”
2.Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) +10”
3.Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +1’02”
5.Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) +1’50”