UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar claims victory in Tour of Catalonia

The Slovenian rider clinches fourth stage win of the week ahead of teammate Almeida

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar of UAE Emirates Team celebrates winning the seventh and last stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain, on March 24, 2024. EPA
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Tadej Pogacar sprinted to an impressive fourth stage victory of the week as he sealed his Tour of Catalonia triumph on Sunday.

The Slovenian two-time Tour de France champion edged a chaotic sprint to take stage seven, adding to his stage two, three and six triumphs, blowing away his general classification competition.

Pogacar emerged ahead of French duo Dorian Godon and Guillaume Martin, second and third respectively, in a frenzied finish to the 143.5-kilometre stage, which started and finished in Barcelona.

"I'm so happy to take the win, it wasn't the original plan," said Pogacar. “It was a very hard stage. We controlled it from the start in a pretty good way, but on the long hors category climbs Visma-Lease a Bike tried to set a harder pace that heavily selected the group.

"There were only 10 riders remaining, and we as UAE Team Emirates were well represented considering that there were also Joao Almeida and Marc Soler with me. Then a group of riders came back, Movistar tried to attack on the following climb and I launched my attack there and I went to the top and then straight to the arrival. The final climb was great, with such a lot of people cheering."

Pogacar's UAE teammate Joao Almeida had a move shut down in the final kilometres but Pogacar snatched victory.

"Joao Almeida set a good pace on the climb and we were a small group in the front," added Pogacar.

"He made a good attack on the last small climb and almost came to the finish. I wish he could arrive, but I'm happy to take this win, too."

The UAE Team Emirates rider won the race by three minutes 41 seconds from Spaniard Mikel Landa, with Egan Bernal third, a full five minutes and three seconds behind Pogacar.

The 25-year-old carved out a big lead on the second stage and nobody threatened to depose him for the rest of the week.

Pogacar is aiming for an ambitious Giro-Tour double in 2024, hoping to become the first man to win both since Marco Pantani in 1998.

Updated: March 24, 2024, 4:10 PM