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Enric Mas tops Tadej Pogačar in Giro dell’Emilia climbing final

Mas claims first one-day victory of career in second day of racing since hitting the podium at the Vuelta a España.

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Enric Mas (Movistar) kicked to the first one-day victory of his career at the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday.

Mas surged out of an elite lead group at the base of the severe San Luca hilltop and beat back grand tour rival Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in what was the Spaniard’s second race since he finished second at the Vuelta a España last month.

Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) finished third as fellow veterans Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education EasyPost) followed across fourth and fifth respectively.

Victory on the steep 2km Bologna climb Saturday gives Mas just the sixth win of his career and only the second of his three years with Team Movistar. The 27-year-old last topped the podium in April 2021.

“I had some good training after La Vuelta and I knew I was going to be in good shape,” Mas said Saturday.

“Alejandro [Valverde] was there, he fought until the end, and this time I was able to finish off. Everyone knows who Tadej Pogačar is – it’s a great satisfaction for me to have won with an attack when he was racing.”

Despite Mas’ sparse selection of individual wins, he became crucial to his Spanish team since he joined in 2020.

The Mallorcan finished in the top-6 of five of the six grand tours he started for Movistar and scored the Spanish stalwart a huge haul of UCI points. His trip to the Vuelta podium last month and the points that came with it all-but guaranteed “the blues” a future in the WorldTour after this crucial relegation season.

Also read: Movistar boss Unzué praises Mas, looks to future with WorldTour status all but assured

“It was a difficult year,” Mas said after his Italian win. “At the beginning of the season I had quite a few crashes and the team lost trust in me. Luckily, after the Tour we did a good ‘reset,’  and now, here we are, feeling good and with a lot of confidence.”

Mas is set to ride alongside his Movistar co-captain Valverde at Il Lombardia next weekend as the 42-year-old pedals into retirement – at which point the team leader’s band will be decisively switching arms.