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Jonas Vingegaard edges victory at CRO Race, secures leader’s jersey

Tour de France champion fends off 19-year-old Oscar Onley in build toward showdown with Tadej Pogačar in Il Lombardia.

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Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) did it again at the CRO Race.

The Tour de France champion edged out 19-year-old Oscar Onley (DSM) in the stage 5 hilltop sprint Saturday in a repeat of the duo’s one-two on stage 3 earlier this week.

Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) finished third in a further echo of Thurday’s third stage.

Vingegaard had to dig deep to fend off Onley in the kick to the line in Labin. The young Scotsman took the pair into the final and came close to parrying Vingegaard’s opening sprint only to fade in the final 20 meters.

“I wasn’t comfortable at all, I had to gamble a bit,” Vingegaard said. “He took the lead and then we could catch him, so of course, I’m very happy to take the win today.”

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Victory gives Vingegaard an eight-second lead over Mohorič and Onley in the classification ahead of a final stage in Zagreb that offers handfuls of bonus seconds ahead of a likely sprint finish.

“I don’t have many seconds over Mohorič, so I won’t celebrate before tomorrow when we’re at the finish. There’s still a chance he could take the jersey,” Vingegaard said.

Whether Vingegaard secures the overall or not Sunday, two victories in three days puts the Danish sensation on the fast-track for Il Lombardia next weekend.

Vingegaard is set for a showdown with Tour de France rival Tadej Pogačar at the Italian monument in their first race together since they tussled for the yellow jersey in France.

Like many other Lombardia challengers, Pogačar is riding through the Italian classics while Vingegaard chose the Croatian option.

“I needed a break after the Tour, but now I’m building up again. I spent some time at home to relax,” Vingegaard said ahead of the CRO Race earlier this week. “I’m happy to be here. It’s a good preparation for Lombardy.”

“We wanted to do things a little differently with the team this year and we looked at this race, and it’s good preparation for Lombardia. It’s also a nice race, and that’s why we’re here,” Vingegaard continued. “I would have liked a real uphill finish, but I will try to do my best.”