20231604 Tadej Pogacar
Tadej Pogacar Image Credit: AFP

Valkenburg, Netherlands: Tadej Pogacar racked up an 11th win of the season on Sunday when he dropped Tom Pidcock on a climb and soloed over 30km to win the prestigious Amstel Gold Race before putting away a glass of beer in impressive speed.

The 24-year-old Slovenian of the UAE team finished first on the Dutch classic in 6hr 01min 02sec, ahead of Ireland's disappointed Ben Healy of EF Education-EasyPost. British rider Pidcock clung on to third place.

Alexey Lutsenko and Andreas Kron rounded out the top five after failing narrowly to reel in Pidcock in a desperate chase for third.

On the winner's podium, Pogacar and the others were all handed a glass of Amstel Gold beer, and Pogacar downed his drink in one long slug and smiled broadly to the cheering onlookers.

Pogacar had changed bikes just ahead of the climb where the difference was made.

"I did not expect that we'd go in the breakaway so early. I was on a sort of flat tyre for many kilometres.

"I was doubting I could come to the finish solo. In the end I squeezed as much as possible to come to the finish line and I made it," he said.

The trio went clear as part of a large attack with 90km to go on the 253.6km race over relentless hills on an overcast day run between Maastricht and Valkenburg.

The ease with which Pogacar later shot away from an in-form Pidcock on the upper reaches of the Keutenberg hill showed why the double Tour de France winner added to his Tour of Flanders triumph earlier this month.

Next weekend Pogacar faces a mouth-watering duel with Remco Evenepoel at Liege-Bastogne-Liege with the Belgian defending champion tasked with taming the 2021 title winner.

Dutch rider Demi Vollering won the women's race after breaking free of the pack on the final descent, producing a third major win for the 26-year-old this season after Strade Bianche and Tour of Flanders.