UAE Team Emirates' Pogacar wins Fleche Wallonne race in Belgium

Pogacar won the Amstel Gold classic on Sunday and the Tour of Flanders earlier this month

By AFP

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UAE Team Emirates' Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar celebrates as he crosses the finish line. — AFP
UAE Team Emirates' Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar celebrates as he crosses the finish line. — AFP

Published: Wed 19 Apr 2023, 11:36 PM

Tadej Pogacar's sensational form continued unabated on Wednesday when a late surge on a fabled steep finale landed the UAE Team Emirates leader the Fleche Wallonne one-day classic in Belgium.

Two-time Tour de France champion Pogacar skipped over the summit finish a couple of bike lengths clear, the Slovenian rider raising his arms aloft for the 12th time so far this season.


Mattias Skjelmose was second and Mikel Landa was third after the 194km race that culminated with one of the most feared climbs in cycling, the Mur de Huy, just 1.3km long but with sections at 17 percent.

"That was tough, totally spectacular," Pogacar said. "None of the other teams helped us, we were on our own today."


Denmark's Skjelmose said he was happy with second behind such a rider as Pogacar, explaining how the winner had bided his time.

"That's also the sign of a great champion, to keep it calm when you know you have good legs," he said.

Spaniard Landa, the Bahrain Victorious leader, was resigned to his podium spot.

"There was no way to beat Pogacar, he's over and above the rest of us and there's nothing we can do about it," said Landa.

Pogacar, 24, won the Amstel Gold classic on Sunday and the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, stepping up his quest to collect classic one-day races before his main target in France this July.

This weekend Pogacar faces a mouth-watering duel with Remco Evenepoel at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, with the Belgian defending champion tasked with taming the 2021 title-winner.

"I'm happy to be on such good form. And I'm taking full advantage of that. Winning is never boring," Pogacar said.

The peloton embarked from Herve on an overcast day with cool spring temperatures as a group of eight riders broke early.

By the time the race hit the Meuse river near Liege, however, the peloton was breathing down the neck of the remnants of that escapade.

On the final climb itself French climber Romain Bardet made a bid, and was one of an elite clutch to cling on to Pogacar's shirt tails. Bardet will be one to watch at Liege at the weekend.

Demi Vollering took her second Ardennes classic in four days as she again dropped her rivals on the final climb to win the Fleche Wallonne women's race earlier in the day.

The 26-year-old Vollering is having an extraordinary classics season. She won the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday as well as the Strade Bianche and Dwars door Vlaanderen last month.


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