After van Aert, Alaphilippe and van der Poel, the winners of the first three stages, the tale of this wonderful edition of the Race of the two seas continues with Tadej Pogačar, the winner of stage four, and overall leader.
It was the day of the ‘queen stage’ from Terni up to the 1,450-metre Prati di Tivo, with a final climb of 14.5 km, rising at an average 7% and topping out at 12%.
Those punishing ramps were going to be decisive to determine the final standings of the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico, with GC contenders expected to battle each other to get their hands on the Trident trophy.
Geraint Thomas was the first to go on the attack, at 7 kilometres out.
Van Aert, behind him in the Maglia Azzurra, was not alarmed. He continued rolling up front, at a fast yet solid tempo.
The decisive attack, however, came after a little over 1,000 metres. Pogačar pulled away, all of a sudden. Quintana tried but failed to hold his wheel, so the Slovene blasted away, solo. Thomas tried to hold him off, but had to give in eventually, just like everyone else.
Tadej Pogačar crossed the finish line in first place in Prati di Tivo and, most importantly, snatched the leader’s jersey from Wout van Aert. That day, the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico had finally found its king.