Extremely complete runner, Tadej Pogacar has fun coming to challenge Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel on the classics. Still, the Slovenian beats them very rarely.
Tadej Pogacar is a breath of fresh air, the relaxation embodied on a bicycle. A few days before the Tour of Flanders, the Slovenian had fun posting a photo of him in Monaco, taking in the sun. While others are preparing for the most important moment of the season by pacing the Belgian cobblestones, the leader of the UAE-Team Emirates training is taking it easy, at least in appearance.
Tadej Pogacar is ready for the #RoundVanVlaanderen 🦁#Cycling #cycling pic.twitter.com/qr0LGFL0g2
— 🚴 The Kings of the Peloton 🚲 (@LRoisDuPeloton) March 30, 2023
However, no one doubts that Pogacar will be one of the customers for Sunday’s final victory over the “Ronde”. The winners of the Tour de France only rarely venture on these slippery terrains that are the cobblestones of Flanders, but the Slovenian is a rider apart. He has already proven that he is capable of coming to challenge Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert on their home soil. The proof ? This fantastic E3 GP, renamed “GP Eux Trois”, as the three monsters flew over the race attacking from afar.
“They are at an exceptional level. They are above the rest at the moment”, confided this week Julian Alaphilippe, before focusing more particularly on the level of the Slovenian. ” Until then he has been much more active than me in this type of event. I know who the favorites are, I try to stay with them as long as possible. Given what Pogacar and able to do, I would really have to be in a very big day to follow him. He changes the situation. Not me. »
Pogacar has never beaten Van der Poel on a classic
It is undoubtedly true that it changes the game, but there is still a big downside. If he competes with them, Pogacar has still only very rarely beaten Van Aert and Van der Poel. Better, he has never won a one-day race where the three leaders were at the start. The Slovenian nevertheless has a more than enviable track record in the classics, with two successes in the Tour of Lombardy, a victory over Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Strade Bianche, etc. But each time, Van Aert and Van der Poel were not around.
In detail, Pogacar has won only one one-day race against Van Aert: the Montreal GP last year, where the Slovenian had dominated the Belgian in the sprint in a small group. On the other hand, “Pogi” has never triumphed over a classic where Van der Poel was facing him. The reverse is not true, since the Dutchman offered Milan-Sanremo this year under the nose and beard of the Slovenian, but also the Tour of Flanders and A Travers la Flandre last year, the Strade Bianche in 2021, and even the Amstel Gold Race in 2019. Van Aert won the E3 GP the other day and the Bretagne Classic last year despite the presence of Pogacar. From there to clear a favorite for the Round on Sunday…