The world's number one rider took one of the most impressive victories of his career on the Strade bianche (White Road). Despite a crash in the first half of the race, Tadej Pogačar decided to go it alone with 50 km to go and took the prestigious victory in the unofficial sixth cycling monument in epic fashion.
After a winning start to the new season, Tadej is once again taking part in the most important modern cycling classic, where he finished a very good seventh last year. It was no secret that he wanted to build on that result to qualify for the top of this prestigious classic. Riding on Macadam in the heart of Tuscany and its enchanting landscape has made the reputation of the "white roads" soar, both among riders and cycling enthusiasts all over the world. The route has remained unchanged in recent years: 184 circular kilometers around Siena with eleven gravel sections totaling 63 kilometers give the race a special character. The Strade Bianche or "White Roads" are therefore considered the unofficial sixth monument in the world of cycling.
Two years later, thanks to the relaxation of measures to combat the corona virus, numerous cyclists have once again taken to the roads. A large number of Slovenian fans loudly supported Tadej.
In the first half of the 16th edition of the "Strade bianche", more precisely 100 km from the finish, a strong gust of wind caused a massive crash on the fifth of the eleven gravel sections. The first favorite Alaphilippe crashed badly, rolled over and had to change his bike. As a result, the Frenchman had to expend a lot of energy to regain contact with the peloton. Tadej Pogačar was also involved in the accident, but fortunately recovered quickly and continued the race.
On the 8th gravel section of Monte Santa Maria, the pace at the front picked up significantly. Alaphilippe tried to accelerate, but in the end he just had to wait for a response from the two-time Tour de France winner. Pogačar accelerated strongly, and when the terrain broke into the valley, he broke away at high speed from all the chasers who gave him just a glance. The breathtaking attack 50 km from the finish surprised all competitors, because no one had ever celebrated victory on the Strade Bianche with a breakaway group more than 20 km from the finish.
The lead of the first rider in the world grew from minute to minute. Pogačar rode a race all his own and never looked back. At one point, his lead was already 1:40 minutes and it became increasingly clear that Tadej Pogačar would be difficult to catch today. With just under 23km to go, five riders set off in pursuit, but it was too late. Although Tadej's lead shrank to less than a minute, it was still too big. He deservedly celebrated one of the most dominant victories of his career on the Il Campo course.
Tadej Pogačar has made history again: He is the first rider to win both the Tour de France and the " Strade bianche " of Tuscany. Moreover, he achieved this milestone with a record-breaking breakaway that will be remembered by cycling fans all over the world for a long time. His victory also improved the best Slovenian finish in this modern classic.
"A stunning victory. Amazing. I attacked early. Until 5 km from the finish I wasn't sure if I would really make it. Even on the last climb, I looked back to see if anyone was coming up behind me. I'm so happy I made it," said the great winner of Tuscany's "Strade bianche" in his first statement.
"I know how this race usually ends. I saved my best performance for the climb to Monte Santa Maria, no one followed me, so I just kept going alone. I had to do my best. I kept looking around wondering where everyone was. It was very tense, and my energy waned more and more towards the end. But I managed to survive until the end.
Source : www.tadej.pogacar.com