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Tadej Pogačar defends Tirreno-Adriatico title for 3rd straight victory

57th Tirreno-Adriatico 2022 - Stage 7

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, ITALY - MARCH 13: Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates Blue Leader Jersey celebrates at podium as race winner with the Trident race trophy during the 57th Tirreno-Adriatico 2022 - Stage 7 a 159km stage from San Benedetto del Tronto to San Benedetto del Tronto / #TirrenoAdriatico / #WorldTour / on March 13, 2022 in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy -- Three races, three overall victories.

Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar extended his nearly perfect start to the cycling season by defending his title in the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico.

The Slovenian rider also won the weeklong UAE Tour last month then put on a dominant display on the white, gravel roads of the Strade Bianche single-day race in Tuscany.

“I might seem unbeatable but I’m not,” Pogačar said.

In the Tirreno, Pogačar won the two toughest stages and finished with an advantage of 1 minute, 52 seconds over Jonas Vingegaard and 2:33 ahead of Mikel Landa.

The 23-year-old Pogačar , who rides for UAE Team Emirates, also won the Tirreno’s points classification and best young rider classification.

German rider Phil Bauhaus won the final stage of the sea-to-sea race, a 159-kilometer (99-mile) leg that began and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto, in a sprint finish.

Giacomo Nizzolo finished second in the final stage, which was hilly at the start then flat at the finish, and Kaden Groves crossed third.

Pogačar crossed 33rd with the same time as Bauhaus.

Up next for Pogačar is the Milan-San Remo classic.