Marc Hirschi will be 'free electron' at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)
Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Swiss racing star Marc Hirschi says he will have the role of a 'free electron' for UAE Team Emirates on Sunday in Liège-Bastogne-Liège - shorthand for a green light to make his own attacks, exploiting rivals’ close vigilance of teammate Tadej Pogačar to his advantage. 

"I’m happy the team will use me that way," the 23-year-old Hirschi, second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2020, told L’Equipe newspaper on Friday, "not just as a support rider for the leaders."

As for how this will work in relation to defending champion Tadej Pogačar, Hirschi said, "Tadej is number one, but it’s always better to have several cards to play. I’m not being deprived of my chances. There will always be a space for me."

The winner of La Flèche Wallonne in a breakthrough season in 2020, Hirschi’s 2021 was plagued by a persistent hip injury that saw him delay his start to 2022 after an operation last December. But one of the brighter lights in a year-long tunnel came when he took sixth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"My body still needs to adapt and the muscles have to adapt to my new way of moving my hip. It could take up to a year for me to stop noticing the effects and for everything to get back to normal," Hirschi said. 

Still, the results so far have augered well for Hirschi. A win in his first race back at the Per Sempre Alfredo Classic in Italy in March has been followed by a series of top ten places, culminating in a ninth at Amstel Gold Race last weekend. 

Only a minor error in his positioning at the foot of the Mur de Huy prevented him from playing a more effective role supporting Pogačar in La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

Unlike last year Hirschi will not take part in any Grand Tours this season, but will instead focus on week-long stage races like the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse prior to a full end of season of one-day Classics. First though, will come Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1