Teammates reach the stage of winning with the bells and whistles
Cycling superstar Tadej Pogakar leads by far from the competition with Rafal Majka in the fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia. His teammates refrain from running to the finish line. Instead, a simple game decides who will win the day.
DrThe last few meters turned out to be a triumphant flight. Tadej Pojakar and his colleague Rafal Majka initially collect one escape after another. Five kilometers before the end they were alone. The lead continued to grow, and the duo was unreachable. So how do you decide who will win the stage in a head-to-head duel?
Pogacar could easily have started the final ascent towards the Velika Planina Plateau. The 23-year-old Radstar is considered one of the best mountain bikers in the world. He has dominated the Tour de France, known for its tough passes in the Alps and the Pyrenees, for the past two years. Perhaps Majka was helpless.
However, the two drivers on Team UAE decided a different kind. About 50 meters before the end of the fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia, they spot the winner with bells and whistles. Pogacar chose the stone, Majka paper – a victory for the pole. Local champion Pogacar had to make way for his teammate. They crossed the finish line arm by arm, and Majka won the 152.5 kilometer section that started at Lasko.
“I would like to thank Tadej and the whole team. We got through the last climb well and always know Tadej is better than anyone else. Pogacar can handle defeat. He had won stage three on Friday, thus celebrating his first win in nearly three months,” Majka said.
Official rehearsal for the Tour de France
In the overall standings, Pogacar leads Majka by three seconds in the final stage. His first opponent from another team (Domin Novak / Bahrain Victorious) is already 1:56. Pogacar uses the tour in his homeland as an exercise for his Tour de France, which begins in two weeks.
He does not risk starting at the height of the year. “We are isolating ourselves as best we can” in light of the increasing number of coronavirus infections in cycling, Pogakar said, noting: “The first two days we wrote autographs and took pictures with people. Now we keep the distance because we want to be at the beginning of the tour.” Pogacar’s Danish teammate Mikkel Bjerg tested positive. As a precaution, his Norwegian housemate Vegard Stake Laengen also had to leave.
In the past few days, more than 40 professional cyclists have had to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse prematurely, and four teams have left the race altogether. There were also three cases of HIV infection in the German team Bora Hansgrohe. “For the sake of our sport, I do not hope that the Tour de France will become just a lottery,” said team boss Ralf Dink.