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Pogacar achieves victory in Strade Bianche after a successful 81km solo attack following in the footsteps of Kopecky's win.
Cycling Sport

Pogacar achieves victory in Strade Bianche after a successful 81km solo attack following in the footsteps of Kopecky’s win.

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia easily won the men’s Strade Bianche race in Italy on Saturday with a brilliant display, leading the pack for 81 kilometers with a powerful solo attack.

The cyclist from UAE Team Emirates took the lead on the 11.5km Monte Sante Marie gravel section, as he had previously announced he would, and maintained his lead until the finish line. He finished two and a half minutes ahead of his closest competitors, with Toms Skujins in second and Maxim van Gils in third. Pogacar’s winning margin of over a minute made him the first person to achieve this in the 17-year history of the race.

Pogacar stated, “As we arrived at Sante Marie, the conditions were extremely challenging. Our group was running low on resources. Despite the muddy terrain and poor visibility, I took the opportunity to push ahead and attack. I was aware that it would be a difficult journey, but once I created a gap, I was confident I could make it to the end.”

“The mental demands of the first race of the season are challenging. It’s difficult to gauge one’s physical readiness, but I put in a lot of effort during the winter to prepare. I began training later than usual, giving me more time to prepare before the first race, and it paid off.”

A fan watches the riders in the distance from under an umbrella.View image in fullscreen

The 215km race, one of the jewels of the Classics season, started and finished in Siena and included 15 gravel sections. Last year’s champion, Britain’s Tom Pidcock, finished fourth.

The women’s race covering a distance of 137km was fiercely contested under challenging circumstances, leading to an intense finale on the last climb towards Piazza del Campo. Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky, the reigning world champion from SD Worx-Protime team, impressively pushed ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini on the strenuous climb and crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of her.

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Demi Vollering placed third while Katarzyna Niewiadoma came in 26 seconds later, followed by Shirin Van Anrooij in fifth place. According to Kopecky, the team had better control during the race and played well together. Although she could have attacked earlier, she waited for the right moment to make a move against Elisa Longo Borghini. Despite not feeling her best, Kopecky was thrilled to win Strade Bianche for the second time, especially while wearing the rainbow jersey.

Source: theguardian.com