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FERMO, Italy (VN) — Remco Evenepoel is steamed after he misread a corner Friday in the heated finale at Tirreno-Adriatico that cost him a chance to put Tadej Pogačar on the limit.
The Belgian uncorked a searing attack with 8km to go in the uphill finale but missed a right-hander at about 6km to go, sending himself, the chasing Pogačar, and Jonas Vingegaard spinning the wrong way.
All three recovered, but Evenepoel was not happy about the miscue that cost him a chance to solidify his grip on the podium.
“I was joined only by Pogacar and Vingegaard, and we went full gas on the descent and had a good gap, but then there was almost nothing and no one to show us that we should go right,” Evenepoel said. “So instead of this, we continued to ride straight ahead and our promising move ended there.”
Evenepoel racing this weekend to defend podium
The leading trio was powering away from a chase group when they went straight instead of doubling back to the right toward the hilltop finale. Evenepoel and Pogačar both went further, while Vingegaard managed to slow down quickly and get back on the right line.
There were pink race arrows marking the route as well as a race marshal holding a tape across the road, but all three were going too fast to see the double-back right-hander.
All three chased back to the main bunch, and there were no major changes in the GC, with Pogačar retaining his narrow nine-second lead on second-place Evenepoel going into Saturday’s big climbing stage.
“I felt good today and had a fantastic team around me, who worked hard to keep me protected,” Evenepoel said. “Then when UAE took over the pace-making, the speed increased and I knew that the right moment to attack had come.
“Fortunately, I had the legs to make up the gap, and also with some help of Ballero, I managed to return in the pack, but it’s a pity how things turned out at a moment when they were looking so good.”
Evenepoel’s target at Tirreno-Adriatico is to finish on the final podium Sunday. Saturday’s big climbing stage will decide everything.