Piazza del Campo was full of fans on Saturday for the first time since 2019, but only one rider was on target – Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who is solo until the dominant victory on Strade Bianche after the attack 50 kilometers from Siena.
In interviews after the race, the Slovenian was informed that he was the first to win the race solo, as he attacked in front of the 20-kilometer limit. His answer was on the brand, given in Pogačar’s typically understated way.
“Someone has to be there for the first time, right?” he was cold. “Sometimes the winner goes 50km to the finish, sometimes 10km, sometimes the sprint at the end. You never know what might happen.”
Pogačar – despite his apparent ease in claiming victory against Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished in second place – said he was worried about falling behind the hunters almost all the way to the finish line. him.
He quickly pulled out a minute of advantage after attacking the long sterrato sector of Monte Sante Marie, and his backlog increased to 1:30 at some point. The 23-year-old had never looked in danger of being caught, but he saw a different way out on the road.
“I went early and only at 5km I knew I was going to make it. Even on the last climb I was still looking back if anyone came, so I’m very happy to make it.
“I did not know [for sure] to the last ascent. I kept looking back at where everyone was and it was really tense. My energy was falling lower and lower in the final and I managed to survive to the end. “
Pogačar was caught in a mass accident 100 kilometers ahead, in which Alaphilippe flew through the air, leaving him with many other big names.
The world champion was at Pogačar’s wheel when he fired 50 kilometers later, which turned out to be his last assault, but in the end no reaction from the Frenchman – or anyone else – could stop the Slovenian from rushing to victory.
“There usually comes a moment when the race is over and this time I made an effort on the ascent of Santa Marie. No one followed me and in the end I was alone. When I started, I had to be completely committed, so I’m glad I made it.”
Daniel Ostanek is a production editor at Cyclingnews, who joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and was later hired as a personal writer. Prior to Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the world of cycling, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist and Rouleur. In addition to reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs “How to Watch” content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported on the world’s best races, including the Tour de France, and interviewed many of the sport’s biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel drives a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40, and his favorite races are Strade Bianche and Vuelta a España.