Tadej defended the overall lead in the last stage of the Tirreno Adriatico race with an excellent performance in the time trial. In addition to the blue jersey of the overall winner, he also won the white jersey as the best young cyclist and the green “King of the Mountains” jersey as the best cyclist in the Mountains classification.
Tadej paved his way to overall victory in the difficult 5th stage, which was even harder than expected thanks to the cold and rainy weather. Tadej was well supported by the team, especially Davide Formolo, who in the last 50km was the only remaining assistant to dictate the sharp pace with which he prevented the attacks of Tadej’s opponents. 17km before the finish, Tadej took matters into his own hands and accelerated the pace to the point where no one could follow him. He was quickly approaching the leader in the race and almost caught just before the finish line. Tadej finished the stage in an excellent 2nd place just 10 seconds behind winner Van der Poel and increased his lead over his most dangerous pursuer Wout Van Aert by an additional 39 seconds.
“I attacked with the intention of widening my lead in the overall standings as much as possible, and I got an extra boost when I saw that my action had put Wout Van Aert in trouble.
I had no thought to take Van der Poel back, but I almost managed to catch him: many compliments to Mathieu, once again he did a great ride, it was not easy to be in the lead for so many kilometers alone in this stage and in this weather.
The advantage over Van Aert is certainly more comfortable than what I had this morning, I would be happy to start in the time trial with this situation but it’s still quite tight” said Tadej after a great performance in stage 5.
Stage 6 passed in a calm matter and did not bring any changes among the leaders in the race. Tadej was supported throughout the stage by his UAE Team Emirates team and brought to the finish line safely. Soon after crossing the finish line and all media obligations, Tadej already dedicated himself to the last stage of the race – time trial.
As overall race leader, he started time trial as the last rider and consequently had all the intermediate times of his competitors under his supervision. Another great performance on a short and completely flat time trial only confirmed his supremacy in the Tirreno Adriatico race.
“Today’s time trial was really all about power – fast and short. It was a really good day for me. Even after such a tough week, I still feel good. I was focused on about getting to the finish line calmly, but at the same time, I also wanted to test how much more my legs could give. I think I distributed my powers properly for those 11 minutes and drove a really good time trial. For the future, today’s results are really great.
I tried to keep my momentum and performance level from the UAE Tour, but in the meantime, I didn’t train much as I competed in the tough Strade Bianche race. Nevertheless, the form still seems to be here. Now I really need to rest for the next few days and then start the season once again before the Basque Country.
I think we can be overjoyed that we Slovenes have finally managed to break through among the best, where we continue to prove what we are capable of. We used to have good cyclists in the past, but there was always something missing for a cherry on top of the cake. I think all the fans back home can be extremely happy about what is happening now in the world of cycling.
I don’t like to overthink. My focus simply goes from one race to another. I don’t think about what was before and what will be after. So far, pretty much everything somehow worked out the way I wanted. I hope that I will do well in the upcoming races and perform to the best of my ability.” were Tadej’s impressions after winning The race of the Two Seas.