Tadej Pogacar wins Tirreno-Adriatico as Geraint Thomas 11th in time trial

Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogacar

Tour de France victor Tadej Pogacar won the Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy after a final-day time trial.

Britain’s Geraint Thomas was 11th fastest in the time trial, but finished more than 17 minutes down overall.

Ineos Grenadiers’ Thomas and compatriot Simon Yates of Bike Exchange both struggled to reproduce the form which saw them dominate last year’s race.

Slovenian Pogacar beat Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert to the blue jersey by one minute and three seconds overall.

Pogacar won Saturday’s mountainous ‘queens’ stage on the way to victory, and is in scintillating form having won February’s UAE Tour.

“It’s been a great start to the season, but I think I need a little bit of rest now,” said Pogacar afterwards.

Tuesday’s 10km final-stage time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto was won by Belgium’s Van Aert, 26, who surprisingly beat defending world time trial champion Filippo Ganna of Ineos. The Italian has not been beaten in a time trial since taking the rainbow jersey in Italy last year.

Thomas, 34, will be disappointed with his overall result of 24th, 17 minutes and 12 seconds behind Pogacar, 22.

Thomas is expected to contest this year’s Tour de France, which Pogacar will be defending after last year’s dramatic time trial victory over Primoz Roglic.

Thomas, who won the 2018 Tour de France, finished 13 places and around 13 minutes behind team-mate and rival for the Tour Egan Bernal, 24, of Columbia, who won in 2019.

Yates, 28, suffered cramps last Thursday, losing more than a minute to his rivals before rallying with a spirited performance on Saturday.

He finished 10th overall – seven minutes and 45 seconds down.

The British pair dominated last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, with Yates beating Thomas to victory by just 17 seconds.

Cycling’s next big race is Saturday’s Milan-San Remo one-day ‘monument’ classic, which is more 300 kilometres long.

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