Dubai: An attack on the last lap of the Oude Kwaremont, at 20 km to the end of the Ronde van Vlaanderen 2023, strengthened the tale of Tadej Pogacar as one of the top stars of cycling.
UAE Team Emirates’ rider conquered the victory that he missed out on last year on the final straight of the race, adding another monument Classic to those already won: Liege-Bastogne-Liege and two editions of Il Lombardia.
Pogacar preceded Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) with an advantage of 16”.
The race was demanding also because of some crashes that occurred in the early and central part of the course: unfortunately, Tim Wellens was one of the victims, sustaining a broken left collarbone.
UAE Team Emirates could rely on Matteo Trentin in the 11 rider group that took the head of the race at 80 km to go and the presence of the Italian cyclist was very useful for his Slovenian teammate when he and Van der Poel dropped Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on the Kruisberg: after having exploited the support from Trentin for a couple of kilometers, Pogacar then launched his winning outstanding attack on the Oude Kwaremont.
Today’s victory is the 56th for the Slovenian rider in his career, 10th in 2023, while for UAE Team Emirates the seasonal successes are now 17.
Pogacar said: “I have no words to describe today’s race, in which the work from my team was amazing: it’s a day I will never forget, especially after last years disappointment. I had a good day, Matteo was in the front in a perfect position and at the end I could say it was one of the best races ever for me. I knew that, if I wanted to go solo, the Oude Kwaremont was the right place where attack, so I gave my best and I succeeded in dropping the opponents, then I almost cracked on Paterberg: I was aware it would have been tough, but it was the only way for aiming for the victory. The Oude Kwaremont is the hill that suites me the most, I approached it with a high speed on the cobbles already suffering, I gave pure power until the top. In the end it was beautiful.”
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 6:12:07
2. Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +16”
3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) +1’12”
10. Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) +2’49”