Tadej Pogačar can’t stop winning. On Thursday, the Slovenian took his third victory in four days (Tuesday he had off), reinforcing the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol lead he seized on Wednesday with the Stage 1 triumph. On Monday he took the “Spanish Strade Bianche”, Jaén Paraiso Interior. He’s 100 percent for 2023; the gauntlet has been thrown down.
Thursday’s route was 156 km from Diezma to Alcala la Real. Two Cat 3 climbs came in the first two thirds of the parcours before a crucial Cat. 2 peaking 23 km from the finish line. The final, partially-cobbled kilometre was a real ramp of 11.5 percent.
A downhill start then climbing for stage 2 at @VCANDALUCIA 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/0VoEy8z29d
— Team Jayco AlUla (@GreenEDGEteam) February 16, 2023
A nine-man escape toodled away, with Gotzon Martín of Euskaltel–Euskadi sopping up enough KOM points on the Cat. 3 ascents to take the virtual climber’s jersey. Pogačar’s UAE-Emirates pulled the peloton.
When the breakaway was within hailing distance, first Mikel Landa and then Pogacar accelerated, drawing Enric Mas, Carlos Rodriguez and Santiago Buitrago, so that the top-4 on GC were all present. Landa’s pace whittled down the group before the showdown in the final kilometre.
A few chaps tried to burst free before the cobbled climb to no avail
#69RdS 🇪🇸 – 🏁 3 km
Attack Rota! Hart, Majka & Caruso just bridged towards the front group! #DomestiqueLive pic.twitter.com/jyGIi7zPUc
— Domestique (@Domestique___) February 16, 2023
Enric Mas and Pogačar went clear on the steepest part of the climb and then the two-time Tour de France champ dispatched the Movistar for this week’s natural hat trick.
Canada’s Hugo Houle was 40th on Wednesday.
2023 Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, Stage 2
1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) 3:40:10
2) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +0:04
3) Santiago Buitrago (Colombia/Bahrain-Victorious) s.t.
2023 Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol GC
1) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) 8:44:19
2) Santiago Buitrago (Colombia/Bahrain-Victorious) +0:48
3) Mikel Landa (Spain/Bahrain-Victorious) +0:52
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