News | Ronde van Vlaanderen • April 3, 2022
Pogačar just shy of podium on promising debut in Flanders
Slovenian 4th on his first ‘De Ronde’
For Tadej Pogačar, the debut at the Tour of Flanders was almost perfect: a lot of class displayed on the bergs, a classic duel with Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and a sprint that unfortunately did not go the way of the Slovenian of UAE Team Emirates.
The captain of the Emirati team finished the Belgian classic in 4th place, preceded by the winner Van der Poel, Dylan Van Baarle (2nd, Ineos-Grenadiers) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ).
Pogačar had faced all the key points of the route with his usual fighting spirit, making the selection on the last two passages on the Oude Kwaremont (-56 km and -17 km) and on the two assaults on Paterberg (- 51 km and -14 km), before going clear together with Van der Poel with a 30 ”advantage over the pursuing duo formed by Van Baarle and Madouas.
In Oudenaarde, on the long finish straight, Pogačar and Van der Poel lingered for a long time before launching the final sprint: Van der Poel accelerated just when, at 250 meters, the two pursuers had gained momentum and, at that point , Pogačar no longer found space for his sprint, finding himself closed between Van Baarle and Madouas.
Pogačar: “It was a wonderful experience, a wonderful race. The team was perfect in supporting me and all of this contributed to ensuring that I was able to remain alone with Van der Poel leading the race, in an incredible atmosphere. Especially on the Oude Kwaremont, a climb that I really like, I had goosebumps.
In the moments immediately following the race, I was not happy, because I was not able to make the sprint as I was closed, but I know well that in cycling this can happen: sometimes you have a clear path, other times you do not find the necessary space. I wasn’t mad at anyone, I was just frustrated with myself.
The idea of attacking on the Kwaremont was born from yesterday’s reconnaissance, when we noticed that there was a favorable wind: it is one of the hardest and longest walls and therefore it was a good point for me to give my all. Then I also tried to stretch on the last pass on Paterberg but, despite giving my best, I was unable to pull away from Mathieu: he was really strong today.
Will I be back to race the Tour of Flanders? Simple answer, yes “.
Tour of Flanders Results:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 6h18’30 ”
2. Dylan Van Baarle (Ineo-Grenadiers) s.t.
3. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) s.t.
4. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) s.t.