"I haven't even thought about losing for a second" - Tadej Pogacar talks about confidence ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Mathieu van der Poel and Remco Evenepoel

Few riders get to have the confidence of Tadej Pogacar and for good reason. Almost every single race the Slovenian touches he turns into a victory, and he is looking to do so for the second time at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“I don't regret skipping this classic. It was terrible to see the boys in action in the snow and rain. Still, I don't think that tough day will have much influence on Sunday's result," Pogacar told Wielerflits ahead of the race, regarding Flèche Wallone where all of his teammates abandoned. "After a few days, everyone has fully recovered from such a day... It will be an open competition. We can expect attacks well before the finish. A lot can happen, because this is a long race with an extremely high elevation gain."

Pogacar has won Strade Bianche and the Volta a Catalunya (alongside four stage wins), and finished third at Milano-Sanremo. Over the past month he's been training in preparation for the Giro d'Italia and the Belgian classic, and with no exaggeration he is the absolute favourite to win it. “I haven't even thought about losing for a second," he jokes.

His main rivals can be a group of riders, depending on how they feel today. The headliner obviously being a wildcard in Mathieu van der Poel. “I like to race against Mathieu. Although I will have to keep an eye on more riders on Sunday than just Mathieu. This classic is better suited for climbers than for a heavier rider like him. But, we know he can do anything... At first glance you think more of the lightweights, but with his punch in the legs you can never ignore Mathieu.”

Over the past two years it was Remco Evenepoel who won here. But Pogacar couldn't battle with the Belgian as two years ago he was a late absence due to a death in the family, last year he crashed out. This year it was Evenepoel's injuries which prevent the battle from happening. “His absence certainly affects the race." Not only him, but Primoz Roglic, who was involved in the same crash at Itzulia Basque Country which decimated a field of quality riders.

"From the beginning of the year I had actually been looking forward to competing against him (Evenepoel, ed.) in this classic. Just like me, Remco loves Liège, so it would certainly have been an interesting battle. But just like last year, when I fell, unfortunately we won't get that interesting race. Cycling sucks sometimes.”

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