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Cycling big guns Pogacar, Roglic earn major Euro wins

Tadej Pogacar has won Paris-Nice with a brilliant solo final-stage win while fellow Slovenian star Primoz Roglic has triumphed in the Tirreno-Adriatico race.

March 13, 2023
13 March 2023

Slovenian cycling stars Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic have laid down emphatic markers for the cycling summer with tremendous overall victories in two of Europe’s great stage races.

Two-time Tour de France champ Pogacar showed he’s the man to beat in 2023 as he clinched the final stage of the celebrated week-long Paris-Nice race in France with a breathtaking solo escape on Sunday.

And his compatriot and rival Roglic showed his excellent form for the bigger tests ahead as he later completed his victory in the Tirreno-Adriatico race in Italy. 

Completing the “Race to the Sun” in Nice, Pogacar won the final stage by 33 seconds to take the overall title by 53 seconds from Frenchman David Gaudu with Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard third at 1 minute 39 seconds back.

Pogacar attacked during the climb of Col d’Eze with 18km (11.2 miles) to go, finishing the eighth stage 33 seconds ahead of a small group made up of Vingegaard, Gaudu, Simon Yates and Matteo Jorgenson.

The Slovenian rider completed the 118km around Nice in 2 hours 51 minutes 2 seconds, crossing the finish line with both arms raised before taking a bow in front of the crowd and clapping his hands.

Pogacar must now have a slight mental edge over Vingegaard, also outclassing him last October to win the Tour of Lombardy.

The leading Australian in the race was Bahrain-Victorious’s Jack Haig, who came 10th, nearly five minutes down on the winner. 

Later on Sunday, Roglic completed his winning return to cycling as he triumphed in Tirreno-Adriatico in the “The Race of the Two Seas” in his first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.

“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglic, who also won in 2019, said. 

“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”

After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglic protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton on Sunday’s seventh leg to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of Joao Almeida, of Portugal, and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Up ahead, Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take Sunday’s stage, edging out Jayco AlUla’s Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.

It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favourites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.

Western Australia’s own two big guns, Ben O’Connor and Jai Hindley, ended the demanding week in Italy with top-15 finishes.

AG2R Citroen’s O’Connor was 13th at 1:27 down on the winner and Giro champion Hindley was 1:45 behind Roglic in 15th place.  

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