Enric Mas (Movistar) surged to victory in the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday, dropping two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in the closing moments of the race.
The Spaniard, who finished second at last month’s Vuelta a España, put in one of the performances of his career, attacking on the final ascent of the iconic San Luca climb to triumph in Bologna.
With this victory, Mas claimed his first race win in 18 months, and his first ever in a one-day event.
Speaking after the race, Pogačar said: "In the end, Enric was much much stronger in the final climb. I'm happy with the result. I must admit that he was better."
The Giro dell’Emilia route spanned 198.7km, taking in two challenging climbs before tackling five laps of the finishing San Luca circuit.
With 9km to go, Mas broke free from the peloton alongside Pogačar in a two-pronged move. The duo were joined at the front of the race 5km later by Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost) and Mas’s teammate at Movistar, Alejandro Valverde.
With 2km remaining, Mas dealt his race-winning blow and quickly drew out a 10-second gap to the group on the uphill drag. Both Pogačar and Pozzovivo tried to follow, but could only watch on as the Spaniard powered solo alongside the arches of the San Luca to cross the finish line first.
The Movistar rider is scheduled to compete next weekend in Il Lombardia, the final Monument of the year, where he will be hoping to repeat his Italian success.
Earlier in the day, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) claimed the honours in the Giro dell’Emilia Donne, beating EF-Education-TIBCO-SVB’s Veronica Ewers by three seconds.
The Italian punched the air as she crossed the line, taking her third victory in the race she previously won in 2015 and 2016. Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) finished third, eight seconds behind her compatriot Longo Borghini.
Contrary to the men’s edition, the women’s race played out on a pan-flat parcours over a distance of just 89.7km. Though they shared the same hilltop finish, the women’s peloton tackled just one ascent of the San Luca, four fewer than the men.
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