Tadej Pogacar wins Strade Bianche with spectacular solo attack

The UAE Team Emirates rider confirmed his status as one of the pre-race favourites by taking an incredible win. Tadej Pogacar won Strade Bianche after an incredible 50 kilometers attack, taking a dominant win despite crashing early on in the race.

The breakaway consisted of Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën Team), Davide Martinelli (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux), Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper - Androni Giocatolli), Simone Bevilacqua (EOLO-Kometa) and Team DSM duo Marco Brenner and Leon Heinschke. The remains of the group resisted until 53 kilometers to go which was around the time the race imploded.

Before that though, with 100 kilometers to go a mass crash marked the race, sending many of the main favourites down to the ground when a huge gust of crosswind took an Alpecin-Fenix rider down at the head of the peloton. The likes of Tiesj Benoot, Michael Matthews and Matej Mohoric abandoned, Julian Alaphilippe and Alejandro Valverde having to chase back and even Tadej Pogacar hit the deck. Eventually the Alaphilippe group returned to the front of the race.

At Monte Sante Marie, where the race was expected to blow up, Tadej Pogacar launched a daredevil move on one of the downhill sections and got a gap with 50 kilometers to go. INEOS' Carlos Rodriguez was the only rider briefly trying to bridge across, but without success.

The peloton stuck together but the gap grew very quickly up to a minute, and hit a maximum of 1:40. Quick-Step, with Alaphilippe, Movistar and Trek put on a chase that didn't quite cut the gap but kept it stable. At Vico d'Arbia with 23 kilometers to go Kaspe Asgreen launched an attack in the peloton, followed by Narvaez, Simmons, Valverde and Wellens, and brought the gap down to a minimum of 50 seconds.

But the gap would not come down more than that, Asgreen attacked at Colle Pinzuto later going solo, being joined at Le Tolfe by Alejandro Valverde who then organized a chase, but one that would not eventually succeed.

Pogacar had time to enjoy the final ascent of the Via Santa Caterina, and took a victory in style at the Piazza del Campo. Alejandro Valverde and Kasper Asgreen wrapped up the podium shortly after.

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