Tour de France champion Pogacar claims second win of season in Tirreno-Adriatico

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Milan (AFP)

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar won the Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday after the seventh and final stage of the 'Race of the Two Seas', claiming his second overall victory of the year.

The Slovenian finished one minute and three seconds ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert in the overall standings after limiting his losses in the 10.1km time-trial at San Benedetto del Tronto.

Spain's Mikel Landa of Bahrain finished down the field on Tuesday but remained third overall, at 3min 57sec, in the race which ended on Italy's Adriatic coast.

"It's a fantastic start to the season," said Pogacar who finished fourth on the day to follow on from his success in the UAE Tour.

UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar, who clinched last year's Tour de France in the time-trial on the penultimate day, was fourth on Tuesday, 12 seconds behind Van Aert.

"It's been a hard week of racing. This is one of the most prestigious one-week races so I'm really happy to get the win.

"But now I already need a little bit (of) rest before continuing the season."

Pogacar had claimed a solo win on stage four at Prati di Tivo in Abruzzo to take the overall leader's blue jersey from Van Aert, before extending his overall lead in stage five.

The 22-year-old had a 1min 15sec lead on Van Aert coming into the final day, with the Slovenian time-trial champion holding on for overall victory.

Along with the overall title, Pogacar also takes the mountains classification and the award for the best young rider.

Pogacar confirmed he will now take a short break, skipping this weekend's Milan-San Remo, returning for the Tour of the Basque Country starting on April 5, followed by the Ardennes classics.

Van Aert set a blistering pace for a surprise win ahead of Swiss Stefan Kung, the European time-trial champion, and Italian time-trial world champion Filippo Ganna.

"It was my first time aiming for GC (general classification) in a stage race and I only got beaten by the Tour de France winner," said the Jumbo-Visma rider, who next competes in the Milan-San Remo.

"I'm very happy with this victory, with almost all the best time-triallists on the start line. It's a really good start to the season."

Former Tour de France winners Egan Bernal of Colombia and Britain's Geraint Thomas finished fourth and 24th overall respectively.

Defending champion Simon Yates finished 10th overall.