Rafal Majka and Tadej Pogacar play rock, paper and scissors during the Tour of Slovenia race

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As they approached the finish of the fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia on Saturday, teammates Rafal Majka and Tadej Pogacar cycled side by side and shook hands. Holding a wide lead and realizing a winner had to be decided, Pogacar extended his right arm to Majka and clenched his fist.

Majka did the same, and they flexed their arms twice before revealing their selections in a game of rock, paper, scissors. Pogacar showed a rock with his hand; Majka selected the paper.

This decided the outcome of the race. Pogacar allowed Majka to ride slightly ahead and win the 94.8-mile Stage 4 race, and the UAE Team Emirates teammates crossed the finish line with smiles and their arms outstretched. one around the other.

“I’m very happy with this win,” Majka said afterwards. “I would like to thank Tadej and the whole team. We got through the last climb well knowing that Tadej could do better than everyone here, but he still handed the stage victory to me.

Majka, a 32-year-old Polish, won the trip from Lasko to Velika Planina in three hours, 53 minutes and 52 seconds. Pogacar, a 23-year-old Slovenian, finished milliseconds behind. The next, Spaniard Fernando Barceló, arrived 22 seconds later.

Majka and Pogacar have raced together in UAE Team Emirates for the past two seasons. Pogacar, the current world No. 1, gave Majka the spotlight on Saturday, whose only Grand Tour podium came when he finished third at the 2015 Vuelta a España.

Majka said Pogacar wanted him to win on the day.

“He said, ‘Okay, you’re going for the stage,'” Majka told CyclingTips. “We did a little bit, but he always tells me, ‘You can win today.’ ”

Majka posted a photo with Pogacar on social media on Saturday with the caption “Boys, [they just] Do you want to have fun!”

By triumphing in the fifth and final stage of the race on Sunday, Pogacar was the winner of the Tour of Slovenia for the second consecutive year. One of cycling’s youngest stars, he has won the last two editions of the Tour de France and will be one of the strongest contenders to win his third straight title at the sport’s biggest event next month.

“In the sprint,” said Pogacar, “I did my best to successfully reward the whole team for the great work done throughout the week.”

Saturday wasn’t the first time rock, paper and scissors were used as a deciding factor in the sport.

In February, Lille footballers Jonathan Bamba and Xeka used the game to decide who would take a free kick in a French league game. In October, two Illinois high school football teams played a best of three game of rock, paper, scissors to replace the pre-match draw.

It also happened in 2018, when a referee in a Women’s Super League game between Manchester City and Reading forgot their piece and asked the players to use rock, paper and scissors to determine the position in the field. In 2016, the men’s lacrosse teams at Dayton and Western Michigan clubs decided the winner with a rock, paper and scissors after lightning canceled their game.

On Sunday, Pogacar and Majka, who finished second in the Tour of Slovenia, spent more time side by side. They stood next to each other on the winners’ podium before throwing their arms around each other to pose for photos.

“It was an incredible week, an incredible race,” Pogacar told VeloNews. “And yes, brilliant teamwork.”

About Debra D. Johnson

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