Tadej Pogacar's near faultless Tour de France continued on stage 5, with the white jersey coming home safely within the pack after a relatively stress-free day.
The 21-year-old is making his Tour de France debut and sits just seven seconds off Adam Yates’ yellow jersey thanks to a combination of good legs and having a well-drilled team around him.
On the first summit finish on stage 4, the Slovenian finished second to Primoz Roglic and, with another mountain finish on stage 6, the UAE Team Emirates leader has another opportunity to cement his place as a genuine GC contender.
Not that the quiet Pogacar is feeling the pressure or the strain that comes with competing in the Tour. According to his directeur sportif Allan Peiper, the young climber is keeping a clear head when it comes to the overall standings and not fixating too much on the how the race might unfold over the coming weeks.
"He’s doing well. He’s confident and he’s a really good kid. He’s listening and he’s placing highly everyday. He’s making all the splits and he’s concentrating a lot. For someone so young, he’s got all the qualities and he’s doing really well at the moment," Peiper told Cyclingnews as he drove to the team hotel after stage 5.
"He’s in white and he doesn’t have any real high expectations of what he’s going to do, and that’s good because it leaves him free in his head."
Peiper stressed that the team environment at UAE Team Emirates was rubbing off on the youngster. The team claimed the first stage win and yellow jersey of the race through Alexander Kristoff, and since then the pressure has dissipated.
The team also have a very strong core group of climbers that includes Davide Formolo, David de la Cruz, Jan Polanc and former Vuelta a España winner, Fabio Aru. The team have not been on the front driving the pace as much as Jumbo-Visma but they have been consistent when it comes to placing Pogacar near the front when it really matters.
"The team are working well around him, and that makes for a really good vibe, whether on the bus, at the dinner table or in the race," Peiper told Cyclingnews.
"They’re really dedicated to him and he’s a kid that wants to race. He was asking at 5km to go on stage 4 if Davide Formolo could attack because they weren’t going hard enough. He’s racer, that’s for sure. He makes good position on the flats and I see him being present for the next few stages, and then in the Pyrenees I see him being there.
"I don’t know if he’ll concede time or hold the position that he’s got but he’s coming into even more condition and I think that he’ll hit his straps in the last week anyway."
Stage 6 of the Tour de France continues with another summit finish at Mont Aigoual. Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage from the stage.
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