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Cycling: Pogacar wins Tour fifth stage as Van der Poel retains yellow

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar emerged as the overwhelming Tour de France when he destroyed the field by winning the fifth stage, a 27.2km individual time trial, on Wednesday.

Cycling: Pogacar wins Tour fifth stage as Van der Poel retains yellow

Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar competes during the fifth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, an individual time-trial over 27.2 kilometres with start in Change and finish in Laval Espace Mayenne, France, on Jun 30, 2021. (Photo: AP/Daniel Cole)

LAVAL, France: Slovenian Tadej Pogacar emerged as the overwhelming Tour de France when he destroyed the field by winning the fifth stage, a 27.2km individual time trial, on Wednesday.

The defending champion clocked a best time of 32 minutes between Change and Laval to beat Swiss Stefan Kueng, the European champion in the solo effort against the clock, by 18 seconds.

Dutch Mathieu van der Poel took fifth place to retain the overall leader's yellow jersey.

"I didn't think I was going to keep the jersey. It was a great day, I'm really happy," said Van der Poel, who is expected to surrender his lead when the race reaches the mountains on Saturday.

Pogacar's performance is a massive blow to his rivals for the title as 2018 champion Geraint Thomas ended up one minute 18 seconds behind and last year's runner-up Primoz Roglic finished 44 seconds off the pace.

Pogacar is now second overall, eight seconds behind Van der Poel while Roglic is 10th, 1:40 down on his compatriot and Thomas 12th, a further six seconds behind.

Both Roglic and Thomas suffered nasty crashes in the opening days of racing and they are now facing a huge challenge if they are to beat Pogacar.

Another top favourite, Colombian Richard Carapaz, is ninth, 1:36 behind Pogacar.

France's Julian Alaphilippe, who was hoping to recapture the yellow jersey, had an average day and slipped down to fourth overall, 48 seconds behind Pogacar.

Last year, the 22 year-old Pogacar was one of the top climbers in the race and was second on the last competitive day when he stunned Roglic in the final time trial to secure the title.

Source: Reuters

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