Sobrada de Pogacar: 80km alone to win his second Strade Bianche

The dense dust cloud of other years gave way to a deluge for much of the day. But the real storm broke out in Tuscany Tadej Pogacar. There are things that don’t change. The Slovenian starts every time Strade Bianche, The result is the same: overwhelming victory. On this occasion, Pogi went one step further and presented a masterpiece that fits exactly into the list of his exhibitions: the time trial on the Planche des Belles Filles, the Grand Bornand at the Tour 2021 or this Tour of Flanders 2023, among many others… Pogacar raised his arms in Siena’s Piazza del Campo, as he did in front of the same backdrop two years ago, after completing the final 80km of the route alone. A real cruelty.

“I wouldn’t say pressure, but I’m a little more nervous than usual. It’s my first race after a good winter. It will be a fast race. Where will I attack? In Santa Maria Between laughter and outright insolence, Pogacar explained the tactics he would use in the race. Would it be a bluff? No way. The Slovenian pushed forward with his attack because he could afford it. He didn’t care at all. He arrived in the sector Sterrato announced, one of the most difficult of the 15, which extended a route to 215 km this year, and he went as he pleased. Pogi turned one of the World Tour’s most prestigious classics into an excellent workout, a test with the starting number forward Milan-San Remo, their next stop (March 16th).

The numbers give his performance even more space. The biggest difference between first and second place in the history of the Strade dates back to 2012, an edition in which Fabian Cancellara, the race’s top champion with three titles, won by 42 seconds over Iglinskiy. On this occasion, Pogacar supported Latvian Tom Skujins (Lidl-Trek) with an impressive time of 2:44. The podium was completed by the Belgian Maxim van Gils, who gave way to Skujins in the last few meters of the climb to Santa Caterina.

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From a purely sporting perspective, there is little that can be salvaged from an event that was emotionally poor beyond the individual performance. Claims on the Pogacar window. Jokes aside, Smith, Donovan, Craddock, Brun and Johannessen, not knowing what was coming, prepared to escape, although they were swallowed up by the peloton at km 101. At that moment, the UAE, who had been controlling the pace of the peloton for some time, shifted gears. Wellens awaited the arrival of the fireworks. Paved the way for Pogi and this one jumped, just as he had warned, in the Santa María sector Sterrato at 11 km, the longest of the route. Those who have been warned are forearmed…

He emerged from this section more than a minute ahead of his pursuer Van Gils and two minutes ahead of the group of favorites in which no one could agree. Ineos and Visma, the most represented teams, did not want to sacrifice pawns to launch a suicidal chase. Pogacar hit the target with a single shot. Despite the numerous skirmishes behind it (Bardet, Healy and Co.), the Slovenian’s income only grew. As if that wasn’t enough, Wellens and a fantastic one Isaac del Toro, On their debut in the race, they acted as brakes for the other competitors. With all of this in mind, Pogacar began greeting the public in 2022, facing the very end of Via Santa Caterina. This time he did the same, smiling from ear to ear, on a dirt track about 30km from the finish line. I can not stand first monument of the course in which he will compete against Mathieu van der Poel, with better sensations.

Results 18. Strade Bianche

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE team) – 5 hours 19:45

2. Tom Skujins (Lidl Trek) – 2:44

3. Maxim van Gils (Lotto) – 2:47

4. Tom Pidcock (Ineos) – 3:50

5. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain) – 4:26

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