Pogačar completes treble by winning Fleche Wallonne
Slovenia's cycling superstar Tadej Pogačar won the 87th edition of the Fleche Wallonne race on 19 April to become only the seventh rider in history to claim victory at all three Ardennes Classics.
The 24-year-old, whose tally of victories this years has risen to 12, won the Amstel Gold race only four days earlier and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race last year. The two-time Tour de France winner could become the third rider to complete the Ardennes hat trick in a single year if he wins the 2023 iteration of Liege-Bastogne-Liege on 23 April.
The 194 kilometre race was decided on the final 1.3 kilometre climb up the Mur de Huy. Pogačar, who had excellent support from his UAE Emirates teammates, learned a lot from his previous appearance on this route. He did not launch his attack too soon and proved the strongest rider in the end.
Denmark's Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) ended as the runner-up, and Spain's Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) came in third. Landa's teammate, Slovenian Matej Mohorič managed to keep pace with the leaders in decisive moments to finish 23rd, 15 seconds behind his compatriot.
"I left it all on the climb, it was a super-hard and a spectacular finish, what can I say?" Pogačar said after the race, adding that his UAE teammates had played a huge role in the race as even with 50 kilometres to go the race was really nervous.
"Winning, for me and for everybody I think, you don't get bored crossing the line first and I really enjoyed it. I'm really grateful I'm in such great shape now and I'll enjoy doing this sport as long as I can."
In anticipation of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege coming up he said "Sunday's race will be different, the climbs will be longer, we'll see how it goes".