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Pogacar continues Classics push at Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Tadej Pogacar in action
Tadej Pogacar in action at Tirreno-Adriatico (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

Tadej Pogačar is back in Belgium for the Ardennes Classics and will lead UAE Team Emirates with Marc Hirschi in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne and then at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

The UAE Team Emirates leader has not raced since finishing fourth at the Tour of Flanders and will end his long spring block of Classics and stage race racing at the weekend before taking a break and preparing for the Tour de France.

Pogačar won the 2021 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège as he confirmed his talents across Grand Tours and hilly Classics, while Hirschi made his breakthrough by winning the 2020 Flèche Wallonne and also finished second in the 2020 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“We’re coming back to the Ardennes with great memories from last year. It’s a period I look back on with great fondness. To take the win in Liège was like a dream and I feel a nice connection with this race,” Pogačar said.

“For these Ardennes races, we have a very dynamic team. The form is good and I think I can do well but on the whole, the team is very strong and we’ll have options which is always an advantage.”

Pogačar and Hirschi will have support from talented young Spaniard Juan Ayuso, Marc Soler, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jan Polanc and Diego Ulissi, with George Bennett replacing Ayuso for Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Pogačar has already raced for 18 days in 2022, winning the UAE Tour, Strade Bianche after a 50km solo attack and then Tirreno-Adriatico. 

Mixing up his racing like few other recent Tour de France winners, Pogačar also finished fifth at Milan-San Remo, tenth at Dwars door Vlaanderen and fourth at the Tour of Flanders. He attacked with Mathieu van der Poel in the Ronde, only for them to hesitate in the final kilometre and allow Dylan van Baarle and Valentin Madouas to join them. Pogačar was then boxed in the sprint and frustrating vented his anger towards Van Baarle after waving his arms as he crossed the line.

“After the Tour of Flanders I went to test the pavé sectors for the Tour de France which was an exciting experience,” Pogačar explained.

“They are quite hard but it’s good to have an idea of what to expect before the Tour.

“Then I had a couple of days break. Since the UAE Tour, I raced quite a lot so it was nice to get back home and train normally. It’s a part of the job I enjoy so to have a bit of a routine was nice.”

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Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.