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Der Poel claims Tirreno-Adriatico fifth stage as Pogacar holds lead

Mathieu van der Poel produced a solo break to win Sunday’s fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico and claim his second victory in this year’s ‘Race of the Two Seas’.

The Dutch national champion, who rides for Alpecin-Fenix, crossed the line alone, 10 seconds ahead of Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar who holds the race lead.

Van der Poel emerged victorious from a sprint in the third stage, having also won the Strade Bianche last weekend in Tuscany.

The Dutch rider broke clear of his rivals with 51km to go in ‘The Stage of the Walls’, raced over 205km with a series of short but steep climbs between Castellalto and Castelfidardo.

“I was riding completely on empty in the last few kilometres,” said Van der Poel.

“I was told that Pogacar was coming close but I wasn’t even able to listen. I just wanted to reach the finish as fast as I could.

“I attacked from far away because I was cold and I felt good until 20km to go.”

Slovenian Pogacar came back strong in the final five kilometres but could not make the difference towards the finish line in the hilltop town famed for its accordion makers.

Belgian Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma crossed 49sec off the pace.

“When I saw Wout suffering I went to try and get more time on GC (general classification) but I never thought I would be anywhere close to catching Van der Poel,” said Pogacar.

“I’m super happy with the advantage I have over Van Aert now before the time trial.”

UAE Team Emirates’ Pogacar holds the overall leader’s blue jersey with a 1min 15sec advantage on Van Aert with two more stages to race.

Schachmann wins Paris-Nice: Primoz Roglic mirrored his 2020 Tour de France last-gasp nightmare with another collapse to lose Paris-Nice to Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann on Sunday.

Roglic famously blew a strong lead on the penultimate and 20th stage of last year’s Tour when his young fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar pulverised him in a time-trial.

Defending champion Schachmann of Bora-Hansgrohe went into Sunday’s final stage in second place, but ended up retaining the Paris-Nice title as Roglic endured a turbulent day in the saddle.

“It’s not nice to win like that, I have mixed feelings,” the German said.

“Suddenly I’m here with the yellow jersey, but I don’t know what to think. I don’t know if I can be happy.”

Magnus Cort won the stage itself but the headlines will be reserved for Roglic’s loss.

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