Today, Tadej competed with the best cyclists in the world on one of the five monuments, the Belgian classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege. At the 257-kilometer test, through the narrow and winding streets of Belgium, full of short steep slopes, the breakaway of nine cyclists was initially formed, among whom Michael Schar of the CCC team lasted the longest. He was caught just 37 kilometers before the finish line, where the real race had just begun. After the capture of the breakaway, there were a series of attacks, in which Tadej, according to wise judgement, did not give in and thus kept as much energy as possible. None of the attacks succeeded, but the peloton thinned considerably due to the increased pace. The decisive attack took place on the last categorized climb, which is only 1.3 kilometers long but very steep (up to 13% and more). The tempo was dictated by Roglič’s teammate Tom Dumoulin, and then world champion Julian Alaphilippe decided to attack. Only five cyclists could follow him, including Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič. Up until the finish, the group acted fairly harmoniously, with a few attacks. None of the attacks, however, were successful as the riders did not want to sacrifice too much energy. In the background, Mathieu Van Der Poel was mostly chasing the escaped five, but in the end failed, the case was different for Matej Mohorič, who managed to move to the first group. There were now only five cyclists in this group, three of them Slovenes. Mohorič first lunched the sprint. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed, as Alaphilippe immediately connected to him, and after a few seconds he opened his sprint. Tadej and Primož had an excellent position. In the hectic sprint, the Frenchman nearly knocked down Marc Hirschi, who then collided with Tadej. Luckily, everyone remained on the bike. Alaphilippe had already raised his hands on the line when Primož overtook him on his right and thus won this prestigious race. Tadej was fourth in the sprint, but Alaphilipp was penalized for an incorrect sprint and placed last in the group. Tadej thus won an excellent third place in his second appearance in this race. In the end, Mohorič achieved an excellent fourth place. We can say that this was an exceptional day for Slovenian cycling with as many as three cyclists in the top four places.

 

Tadej Pogačar said: “I was in a good position as we came close to the finish line and I said to myself ‘Let’s go for the win’. It was a messy sprint and at one point I thought I would crash but I managed to stay up and finish on the podium. It was a real pleasure to race here, it’s a beautiful race. Last year it was my debut and I finished 18th and learned a lot. To be here one year later in the lead group battling for the victory was a great feeling. In the future I want to come back and fight again.”

Photo: BettiniPhoto©2020