The Slovenia Times

Pogačar storms to his 70th career victory

Tadej Pogačar pictured at the 2023 Tour de France. Photo: dpa/STA

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar has proved unbeatable yet again, flying solo to win the Liège-Bastogne-Liege, the oldest of the five cycling Monuments, for his 70th career win a year after fracturing his wrist at the same race.

Leaving the peloton and his UAE Team Emirates teammates behind, Pogačar attacked on the Cote de la Redoute hill, with 35 km to go to the finish line in Liege, a city in Belgium's Walloon Region.

He quickly established a lead of well over a minute, at one time opening a two-minute gap to the closest rivals.

He finished the race 1:39 minutes ahead of France's Romain Bardet (DSM-firmenich PostNL) and 2:02 minutes clear of Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who was considered his biggest rival heading into the race.

This is a second time for Pogačar to win the Liège-Bastogne-Liege race after 2021. He did not compete in 2022 due to family reasons and then in 2023 he suffered a fall and broke his wrist at the race.

Pogačar, now has six wins at the Monuments, the five most prestigious one-day road cycling races.

In the 254.4 km Liège-Bastogne-Liege race cyclists had to climb more than 4,000 vertical metres. The only other Slovenian in the race was Pogačar's teammate Domen Novak, who helped set the conditions for Pogačar's attack.

"I think after this kind of long races it's super special to come solo, and also with national champion's jersey, it's beautiful to come like this to the finish," Pogačar said after the race.

He praised the team's efforts. "It was amazing teamwork and I couldn't have done it without them," said Pogačar, adding that his attack was carefully planned ahead of the race. "On La Redoute we did exactly what we said and from then on it was suffering to the finish."

For Pogačar the race was emotional as he was remembering his fall last year and how he left the race in 2022 after his fiancee's mother passed away. "I was riding for Urška's mother today," he said.

The Slovenian has been topping the UCI World Ranking for 135 weeks running.


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