Pogacar leads young UAE Team Emirates roster in California

20-year-old Slovenian will ride for a GC result to back up Algarve win

Tadej Pogačar will lead a young UAE Team Emirates roster at the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, which starts Sunday in Sacramento and concludes in Pasadena on May 18 after seven days of racing. 

Pogačar will be joined in the US WorldTour race by Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Vegard Stake Laengen, Cristian Muñoz, Rui Oliveira and up-and-coming sprinter Jasper Philipsen. Muñoz, Oliveira, Philipsen and Pogačar are all under-23, but the youngsters can lean on the experience of Ferrari, 36, Durasek, 31, and Laengen, 30.

The 20-year-old Pogačar will look to continue the stellar start to his first season on the WorldTour after riding for Slovenian Continental teams for two years. The Slovenian started his season with 13th overall at the Tour Down Under in January before winning a stage and the overall at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. He was second in the Arrigorriaga stage at Pais Vasco and finished fourth overall in that Spanish WorldTour race.

"I will try to fight for a good result in the general classification, hoping to still be able to count on the good form that has supported me in all the races of this first part of the season," Pogačar said in a statement released with the team's roster announcement.

"It was a great start to the year for me. I learned a lot and at the same time I pulled in some important results. I have great enthusiasm, and I'm happy to go racing in the United States, where I competed only in Richmond in 2015, when I was in the junior world championship."

Aside from supporting Pogačar's GC ambitions, which will come to the fore on the stage 2 slog to South Lake Tahoe and the Queen stage to Mt. Baldy on the penultimate day, UAE Team Emirates will have multiple opportunities to contest the sprints with Philipsen, who was sixth during stage 1 in California last year in his first-ever WorldTour race with Hagens Berman Axeon. The 21-year-old Belgian has since gone on to win stages at the Tour of Utah in August of last year and the Tour Down Under in January.

UAE Team Emirates for Tour of California: Kristijan Durasek, Roberto Ferrari, Vegard Stake Laengen, Cristian Muñoz, Rui Oliveira, Jasper Philipsen, Tadej Pogačar

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