Pogačar wins world road race bronze
Tadej Pogačar won bronze for Slovenia in the road race at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow on 6 August in what he described as a "sprint of the living dead".
Despite crashing while leading the race, Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel managed to remount his bike and pull away to win the rainbow jersey, finishing 37 seconds clear of Belgian Wout van Aert in second.
The Belgian shook off the Slovenian and Dane Mads Pedersen on the last short climb, and then Pogačar beat Pedersen in a head-to-head sprint for bronze to secure his first world championships medal.
A two-time Tour de France winner, who tops the UCI world ranking, Pogačar described the 271-kilometre race as an ordeal.
He had an answer to every attack from his rivals, but was unable to follow van der Poel as he broke away with just over 20 km to go. "He knew he had to attack when I dictated the pace. In any case, he deserved the win, you could see he was the best, everything clicked for him, even if he crashed," Pogačar told TV Slovenija about the decisive moment in the fight for the rainbow jersey.
"I hoped for the silver medal then. I knew I was the least strong of the three of us, the climbs were too short for me to make a successful attack, so I tried to save energy," he told the public broadcaster.
"Van Aert was very fast on the corners, but in the last kilometre I noticed that Mads Pedersen was also completely exhausted. It was a sprint of the living dead," Pogačar said, adding: "I beat one of the best sprinters in the world! I'm really happy for the bronze."
"I'm so tired right now I'd rather just lie down. It will take me a few days to realise what has happened and that we finally won a medal after all these years," Pogačar said after the six-hour race.
This is only the second medal for Slovenia in road races at world championships, the first being won by Andrej Hauptman in Lisbon 22 years ago.
The race had a 50-minute interruption due to an environmental protest some 80 km after the start in Edinburgh.