Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 14, 2019: It was a bittersweet day for UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar, after a solid performance earned him a top 10 finish in stage 18 of La Vuelta, but also ended with him handing over the white jersey to Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). Pogacar now sits in 5th place in the overall classification just 1:18” off a podium spot and 32” behind Lopez in the Youth Classification competition.
The 177.5km mountain stage from Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra played out as anticipated, with the main GC contenders waiting until the last climb of the day to animate the race. A series of attacks from Lopez split the pack as they chased down the breakaway rider – and eventual stage winner - Sergio Higuita (EF Education First). Pogacar showed maturity by not panicking when the splits occurred, riding within his limits to minimise time loss and reserve energy for the remaining stages.
Pogacar reflected: 'I did everything I could to stay with the front group today. Of course I'm a little bit disappointed but I gave it my best, maybe it was just a bad day. Saturday will be another decisive stage for the GC so I expect we'll be going full gas from the start.'
Tomorrow, the peloton rides from Avila to Toledo on a 165.2km flat stage that will be hotly contested by the sprinters.
Stage 18 Results:
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First 4:33:09”
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo Visma +0:15 “
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar st
9. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates + 1:16”
GC Standings after Stage 18:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo Visma 71:16:54
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar +2:50”
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar +3:31”
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates +4:49”
David Brady | Associate Director
CSM Sport & Entertainment