Tadej Pogačar wrote his name in cycling history again, winning the biggest one-day race of his young career and becoming the youngest winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 44 years.
With a determined sprint, the Slovenian Emirates Team rider triumphed at “La Doyenne” ahead of world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).
The quintet had an advantage over the main group with 13.5km to go when, near the front of the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, Davide Formolo held off Richard Carapaz (Ineo-Grenadiers), paving the way for an attack by Michael Woods. Pogačar, Gaudu, Valverde and Alaphilippe followed the Canadian, and this group managed to hold an advantage of just over 20 “over their pursuers until the final sprint.
Entering the sprint, Pogačar was glued to Alaphilippe’s wheel, bypassing the Frenchman in the final meters before the line.
The win capped a very strong team performance with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also claiming 6th place with Marc Hirschi and 16th with Davide Formolo.
Pogačar said, “I am almost speechless. I really love this race: winning here was one of my dreams and it’s amazing to have achieved this goal and to finish ahead of these big names. In the sprint, I was behind Alaphilippe when he opened up and I tried to stay with him. I wasn’t sure I could pass him but with strength and a little luck I did.
I won the Tour de France, I won other high level races and now I conquered Liège-Bastogne-Liège: I am living a cycling dream.
“Now I’m going to rest, spend time with my family and then resume my preparation for the Tour de France,” he added.