Strade Bianche: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) wins for the first time after masterful race

A ride from another time and Pogacar was disgusted by the competition. We expected two favourites. Both fell, but one rose brilliantly, while the other stayed on the Tuscan trails. Launched on a frenzied adventure 50 kilometers from the target, the Slovenian from the UAE Team Emirates became the first Tour winner to win Strade Bianche in Siena on Saturday. With no rival, Pogacar crossed the line in front of Piazza del Campo 37” ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), the oldest rider on the podium of a classic World Tour. Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) completed the stage (+46”).

Swept away by a gust of wind just under 100 kilometers from the finish, Julian Alaphilippe didn’t repeat his 2019 feat, hitting the back. The French played the model teammates. To see if the consequences of his fall do not jeopardize his participation in Tirreno Adriatico. Pogacar will be there.

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The great terror of Alaphilippe

Another stone to put on the altar of those who advocated the promotion of Strade Bianche to the rank of Monuments. Yes, the “White Routes” only extend for 184 kilometers. Yes, the 2022 edition was only the 16th of the name. But the unique track, carved into the rolling Tuscan countryside open to the four winds, is one that enchants and inspires runners.

Tadej Pogacar, a real wizard of the bicycle, stole the show from his great opponent of the day. Flanked by his iridescent jersey, Julian Alaphilippe offered photographers a photo of their choice showing an impressive “sun” 99km from the line, the error of a blow from Eole. Swept away – like Pogacar – and slowed down by nearly two minutes from the group of survivors, Alaphilippe forced himself into an initial burst of energy, him falling heavily on his back.

A “sun” and a chain reaction: Alaphilippe’s enormous terror

Fortunately, the wind slowed the tendencies of certain formations that didn’t bother to take advantage of the double world champion’s misfortune. Returning to the wheels with 76km from the finish, the Frenchman was quick to show his opponents that he had lost nothing in the affair. It is precisely the Montluçonnais that launched hostilities, 52 km from the line. Two attacks to put himself at ease, but enough to whet the appetite of the pack’s new cannibal.

Pogacar, recalling Merckx

In Monte Sante Marie (11.5 km), a real justice of the peace of the Strade BIanche, Pogacar took all risks on a descending section, drowning in the dust thrown up by the gusts of wind. Alaphilippe tried, but the fallout soon called the Frenchman to order, forced to watch the Slovenian slip away to another solo performance. Next up, a procession on the stony paths despite the resistance of Carlos Rodriguez (INEOS Grenadiers), between the leader and the peloton for 15 kilometers.

Resigned and weak, Alaphilippe logically placed the arrow 22 kilometers from the target, after working for Kasper Asgreen. On the counter, the Dane from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl briefly believed he was making the comeback of the year (53” behind 14km from the line), but Pogacar is a courier of a different nature. One of the kind that is the first Tour winner to raise his arms in the historic Piazza del Campo in Siena. In the back, Valverde (2nd) played great to become the oldest rider on the podium of a classic World Tour (at 41 years and 314 days). Asgreen (3rd) and the overpowered collective of the formation Patrick Lefévère could only settle for the crumbs left behind by the native of Komenda. Eddy Merckx could have a holy heir there.

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