Berliner Tageblatt - Pogacar rampage at Liege launches Giro-Tour bid

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Pogacar rampage at Liege launches Giro-Tour bid
Pogacar rampage at Liege launches Giro-Tour bid / Photo: © Belga/AFP

Pogacar rampage at Liege launches Giro-Tour bid

Tadej Pogacar won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege bike race on Sunday thanks to a solo break 30km from home launched on a steep climb and sustained to the finish line.

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Ahead of Pogacar's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double bid the 25-year-old Slovenian blew the opposition away with a maverick acceleration that none could answer on the 254km race in the Ardennes forests that marks the end of the spring classics.

Billed as a duel between Pogacar and winner of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders Mathieu van der Poel, the Dutchman came in a commendable third but was far from going shoulder-to-shoulder for the title.

Frenchman Romain Bardet was second, also solo 1min 39sec off the the pace with Van der Poel leading a bunch home at 2min 02sec.

Another pre-race favourite was Briton Tom Pidcock, who was 10th on the day after a mechanical problem at a key moment hindered his day.

The win puts to bed Pogacar's fall here last season that broke his wrisst and blighted his Tour de France bid.

"It was an emotional day of riding for me," a drained-looking Pogacar said.

"Not just because of my hand but also because two years ago just before the race Urska's mother died, so I was riding for her today," Pogacar said referring to his professional cyclist partner Urska Zigart.

Pogacar also won here in 2021 and this was his sixth one-day Monument win with three wins at the Tour of Lombardy and his 2023 Tour of Flanders triumph.

Champion Remco Evenepoel, former winner Primoz Roglic and Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard would all have been suited to this course but are injured after a mass fall at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Pogacar came into the race fresh from altitude training and at the start line said he had "no regrets about not racing la Fleche", referring to the frozen and drenched midweek race in the same region.

N.Fournier--BTB