Evenepoel, Pogacar and a duel ‘postponed’ after five seasons

They were the two great favorites for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. On the one hand was Remco Evenepoel (23 years old), winner of the test in 2022 and current world champion, with an alternative calendar and different from that of the stars of spring, having the Giro as the main challenge, and in the other Tadej Pogacar, with his almost unbeatable start to the campaign, with twelve victories in eighteen days of competition. A fall from the Slovenian, when there were still 174 km to go before the finish line in Liège, deprived him of the duel. In fact, Tadej ended up in the hospital and operated on his arm. The falls are not frequent in the star of the UAE, but this time he touched the cross of the coin. Without his great rival, Evenepoel (24 years old) was far superior to the rest to achieve his second Liège after riding the last 30 km alone. The duel will have to wait.

And it is that it is unusual to see both coincide in a race. Both jumped on the World Tour in 2019. Evenepoel did it with the Quick Step and Pogacar with the UAE Team Emirates. During these five seasons, the two shared a trial for only 21 days. Obviously, in no grand tour. The first time was in 2019, in the Clásica de San Sebastián, Remco’s first conquest on the World Tour and in which he became known to the general public for his precocity and the way in which he reigned in a test of such magnitude. That day Pogacar, who days later was going to run for the first time in La Vuelta, I do not finish. In those 21 days that coincided, a third (seven) were in the 2022 Tirreno-Adriatico dominated by Pogacar, with the general and two stages.

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In total, in those 21 days of the two facing each other, Evenepoel added four victories: Classic of San Sebastian 2019, Classic of San Sebastian 2022, World Cup 2022 and Liège-Bastoña-Liège 2023, while Pogacar won four times, counting the general and the two aforementioned stages of the Tirreno 2022 and the Giro de Lombardy in 2021 (source: procyclingstats). The fall of Tadej on the way to Liège left without a duel that, despite being almost unprecedented so far, aspires to have many chapters in the future. Evenepoel, from the year 2000, and Pogacar, from 1998, still have a lot to say, early runners who add and add successes. Now, the paths of both separate: Remco will continue without debuting in the Tour de Francesince he will try to fight for his first Giro, while Pogacar, who will spend a few weeks before returning to his maximum intensity training, will fight to conquer his third crown in Paris.

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