Wherever Pogacar goes, he triumphs; also in Liège

Sometimes you win by fury.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
21 April 2024 Sunday 04:38
6 Reads
Wherever Pogacar goes, he triumphs; also in Liège

Sometimes you win by fury. Others attack with rage. Sometimes everything is due to intelligence in the race. Without forgetting that a moment of inspiration and, why not, luck may appear. But Liège-Bastogne-Liège was the triumph of the script. It was a complete cerebral success. The coronation, for the second time, of a Pogacar who did exactly what he had to, where it was planned and against the rival whom everyone pointed out. Both the Slovenian and Van der Poel were very clear about their plan. The attack and defense. Exhibition and containment. The getaway or the sprint. But when push comes to shove, no one plays his cards like Pogacar.

Wherever he goes, Tadej triumphs in 2024. He has seven victories in ten days of competition. He had not competed since the Volta, where he won four stages and the general. From Barcelona he reappeared in Liege and raised his arms again. And now, in two weeks, his debut awaits him in the Giro d'Italia, where based on his performance he will have his opponents in fear.

The leader of the UAE wore Liege as his outfit. The vaunted super-duel was shattered, pulverized. He attacked on the hardest hill, not to select, but to leave everyone and ride the last 35 km alone. That is the greatness of him. Six monuments 25 years old.

All the emotion of this monument was placed in an instant, at the height of La Redoute. There, the grace of Tadej Pogacar, excited about his return to the dean of racing, and the power of Mathieu van der Poel, Poulidor's grandson who wanted to emulate Merckx and chain three monuments in a row (Flanders, Roubaix and Liege) had to collide. .

And Pogacar did not fail. No matter how predictable the movement was, no matter how much everyone was warned, no matter how much his wheel was the most sought after, the prince of Komenda put everyone in his place. La Redoute gobbled up Van der Poel. The climber dismounted the classicist. The attack of the double Tour winner found no response from the world champion, who was never able to get close.

The Slovenian destroyed the peloton, including Carapaz, who was the one who withstood the loss the longest. At the top he was already alone. All said. Nothing to replicate. Nobody could hunt him down. Behind, Bardet, who escaped at the end, prevented Van der Poel, the fastest in the sprint, from becoming second. The one from Alpecin was third after always being in tow in the race, at the mercy of the winner.

Pogacar won for 2022, when he did not participate because he was next to his partner, the cyclist Urska Zigart, after the death of her mother. Also around 2023, when he fell, he fractured his wrist and started to miss the Tour. And a little for 2021, when he did win, but he could not arrive alone, but accompanied by four other cyclists, including Valverde.

The long-awaited duel was on the verge of not taking place due to a fall, nothing to do with the Itzulia accident, where all the roosters fell to the ground and which has the Tour in suspense with Vingegaard and which removed Evenepoel from defending his two last Lieges. 100 kilometers from the finish there is a massive fall and the peloton splits in two. Ahead is Pogacar. From behind, misfortune cuts off Van der Poel.

The world champion cannot pass and is left behind for more than a minute. But he doesn't get it. He lets others solve the problem for him. Also traveling with him are Pidcock, Vansevenant, Pello Bilbao and other cyclists with aspirations who take responsibility for the chase. Until at 70 km everything returns to its normal course. All together. And more than any, the number 31, the Dutchman, and 101, the Slovenian.

The UAE, in its desire to want the tough race and eliminate Van der Poel, wears down Ulissi and Fisher-Black, who are overripe. It seems that only Novak is left to prepare Pogacar's attack, because it is already known that Almeida is following him, and the gregarious is setting the pace on the hills and resting on the descents. Until he has the last service: the Redoute, 1.5 km uphill. Novak comes in strong and when he moves away, almost 900 meters from the top, it is the signal for the final part of the plan to be unleashed, the key. Pogacar did not fail.