Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar wins Stage 6 of Tour of California to take lead

UAE Team Emirates began its week at the Tour of California by sending home one of its riders upon learning that his name had surfaced in a European investigation into doping in cycling.

The team appears set to end it with the overall race win.

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar reeled in several top contenders on Friday’s final climb to Mt. Baldy, then matched every attack thrown down by Sergio Higuita. That allowed him to reach the finish line first and take not only the sixth stage but also the lead in the general classification with just a day of racing to go.

In the women’s race, Cal alum Katie Hall surged in the final couple kilometers up Mt. Baldy before holding off Boels Dolmans teammate Anna van der Breggen for the stage win. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was third.

Van der Breggen retained the overall lead by 29 seconds over Hall, the defending champion.

UAE Team Emirates has ridden this week without Kristijan Durasek, who was caught up in the doping probe. But it hardly mattered for Pogacar, who stayed out of trouble during the earlier stages and was in fourth place and 16 seconds adrift of Tejay van Garderen entering Friday’s stage.

Pogacar and Higuita dueled to the finish line in Ontario (San Bernardino County), but Pogacar swung low and took a better line. He leads by 16 seconds ahead of Higuita with Kasper Asgreen in third.

The final stage Saturday takes the men and women 78 miles from Santa Clarita (Los Angeles County) to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but both overall leaders will be expected to protect their jerseys.

ELSEWHERE

Injuries force out Federer, Osaka

Top-ranked Novak Djokovich and Rafael Nadal adavanced into the semifinals of the Italian Open, but neither one will face Roger Federer.

Federer, and two-time major champion Naomi Osaka on the women’s side, pulled out of the tournament with injuries.

Federer reported a right leg injury ahead of his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Osaka said she awoke with a sore right hand ahead of her scheduled match against Kiki Bertens.

Meanwhile, Nadal put away Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-0 and Djokovic outlasted Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

On the women’s side, Karolina Pliskova rallied past former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-2 and will face qualifier Maria Sakkari, who came back to beat Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. Bertens, who won the Madrid Open last week, will face Johanna Konta, who beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Colleges: Stanford lost 9-1 to Boise State, pushing to the Cardinal to the brink of elimination from an NCAA softball regional in Gainesville, Fla. The Cardinal will play Boston University on Saturday in a bid to stay alive in the double-elimination regional.

• Stanford, the defending national champions, defeated Pepperdine 4-1 to advance to the NCAA women’s tennis semifinals in Orlando. The Cardinal will face North Carolina in the semifinals Saturday.

Hockey: Mikko Lehtonen had a goal and an assist as Finland defeated Britain 5-0 at the world championships in Slovakia to move into first in Group A with 13 points after five games.

Slovakia rebounded from three consecutive losses with a 6-3 victory over France, keeping alive its slim hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.

The Czech Republic routed Italy 8-0 and is tied with unbeaten Russia and Switzerland atop Group B with 12 points.

NFL: The Baltimore Ravens signed three free agents: linebacker Shane Ray, wide receiver Michael Floyd and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Slovenian-cyclist-Tadej-Pogacar-wins-Stage-6-of-13855392.php.

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