Tadej Pogačar Wins Tirreno-Adriatico 2021
The 56th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico concluded today with the customary 10.1 kilometer ITT around the streets of San Benedetto del Tronto.
Coming into the stage, the heavy favorite was Filippo Ganna of Ineos. The Italian had emerged victorious in the previous eight ITTs that he had participated in. However, Ganna was unable to match the pace of Stefan Küng, crossing the line five seconds slower than the Swiss.
Küng’s time held up for quite a while. It looked as though he may have done enough to earn stage honors. That was the case until the start of Wout van Aert. The Belgian, who was the second to last rider to depart from the start house, was simply on another level. Van Aert finished six seconds quicker than Küng. In doing so, he secured his second stage victory over the seven days of racing.
Missing out on the day’s podium by a single second was Tadej Pogačar. However, the 22-year-old came away with a pretty good consolation prize. With his ride today, Pogačar secured the overall victory by a margin of over a minute. The win is the Slovenian’s sixth general classification triumph since joining the pro ranks.
Considering how dominant he has been, it is easy to forget that this is only Pogačar’s third season at the WorldTour level. If the UAE-Team Emirates man continues at this pace, he should have a real shot of duplicating his Tour de France title from a season ago come July.
Final General Classification
🔱 Tirreno Adriatico @eolo_it 2021
Classifica Generale | General Classification
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🥈 @WoutvanAert 🇧🇪
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- Tadej Pogačar – 26:36:17
- Wout van Aert – 1:03
- Mikel Landa – 3:57
- Egan Bernal – 4:13
- Matteo Fabbro – 4:37
- João Almeida – 4:54
- Tim Wellens – 5:00
- Romain Bardet – 5:50
- Vincenzo Nibali – 6:30
- Simon Yates – 7:45
Youth was certainly on display at Tirreno this year. Five of the first six riders are 26 or younger, while Pogačar and Almeida are both just 22.
Although Pogačar came into the race as a major favorite, he still deserves a lot of credit for the victory. Based purely on individual strength, it is very difficult to think of a rider who would be the favorite against Pogačar in a stage race featuring climbing and time trialing at the moment. Opposing teams like Jumbo-Visma will have to figure out how to regularly isolate the defending Tour champion if they want to prevent him from making it two in a row.
As a general classification newcomer, Wout van Aert deserves a lot of credit for his second place. With his 20th place at last year’s Tour, van Aert demonstrated that he had the potential to produce some impressive GC results. Now that he has shown that he is interested in pursuing that challenge, the sky’s the limit. It has been a long time since the men’s peloton has seen a rider who can sprint, time trial and climb as well as van Aert can. The comparisons to Kelly and Jalabert at this stage are not unwarranted.
Apart from the 2015 Giro d’Italia, this is probably the most prestigious GC podium of Mikel Landa’s career. He will have some stiff competition from the Ineos juggernaut at the 2021 Giro. However, his form at this event has been a very encouraging sign as he looks for another Grand Tour podium.
Now that it is done, it is fair to say that this race lived up to the hype that the start list generated.
The list of stage winners really is quite incredible for a one week stage race. Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel each grabbed two wins, while Julian Alaphilippe, Tadej Pogačar and Mads Würtz Schmidt all won once.
Any race featuring Alaphilippe, van Aert, van der Poel and Pogačar is going to be exciting. All four of them are superstars, and they proved why this week.
However, they also left space for other riders to write their own storylines. Mads Würtz Schmidt did a great job to capitalize on a breakaway opportunity. In doing so, he added his name to what will likely be one of the strongest list of stage winners in 2021. 25-year-old Matteo Fabbro grabbed his first GC top five at the WorldTour. His result confirms him as yet another talented young climber to keep an eye on.
Up next on the calendar is the first monument of the season, Milano-Sanremo.
A season ago, Wout van Aert outsprinted Julian Alaphilippe to take the biggest victory of his career thus far.
Based on current form, van Aert, Alaphilippe and van der Poel all should be present and accounted for in the closing kilometers come Saturday.
If Tirreno has taught us anything, that combination should make for one exciting race.
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