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Five stages into the Tour de France, UAE Team Emirates is able to glance back on a good start on their quest for glory in Paris. Even though the UAE team isn’t as star-studded as the challenging Jumbo-Visma team, Tadej Pogačar seems as impressive as ever. During the highly anticipated Paris-Roubaix stage on Wednesday, Pogačar impressed on the cobbles and managed to put time into all his rivals for the general classification. Afterwards, team principal Mauro Gianetti stood outside the team bus next to the famous Arenberg forest. The Swiss man was content about the outcome of the important fifth stage of the Tour de France but felt sorry for his Dutch rivals at Jumbo-Visma.
“It’s a pity what happened with the Jumbo-Visma team,” Gianetti said. “They really ran into all sorts of bad luck today.” The flawless ride from Pogačar stood in stark contrast to the bumpy ride of the Jumbo-Visma team. Gianetti wasn’t surprised by the strong ride from Pogačar on the cobbles, as he already showed on the Flemish pavé that he knew how to tackle them.
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“Pavé is pavé,” said Gianetti. “He knows how to ride his bike over the cobbles. He’s done a lot of cyclocross when he was younger. We knew he was capable of doing a good job today. He rode very good today and was always well positioned. That helped him to achieve a good result. He gained a dozen of seconds.”
Teammate Brandon McNulty crashed away late in the race. “That was a pity,” Gianetti said. “Brandon McNulty would’ve been useful to support Tadej in the final.” Pogačar didn’t have time to care because a few moments later, at 20km from the finish, pavé specialist Jasper Stuyven opened up the gas on the 4-star rated cobbles between Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes and Sars-et-Rosières. Pogačar was the only rider in the peloton capable of marking the Belgian rider. The duo seemed on its way to bridge up with the race leaders and fight for the stage win, gaining about a minute on the group with Vingegaard. The duo lost momentum and their bonus nearly vanished by the time they reached the finish line. “They were only with the two of them. Behind them there were a lot of teams, like Jumbo, Ineos, Bora and Arkea and they were all motivated to chase. That made it hard to create a bigger gap with two riders,” Gianetti said.
“The first week is complicated,” Gianetti said. “There’s a lot of teams who’re battling in the first week. We are doing very well so far but the Tour is still very long. We need to stay attentive and very focused. This was a good day but every day is something different.”