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UAE Team Emirates visit jury after Pogacar’s Tour of Flanders sprint remonstrations

Mathieu van der Poel celebrates his second win at the Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Getty Images)

UAE Team Emirates spoke with the race judges after the Tour of Flanders, suspecting possible misconduct in the sprint after Tadej Pogačar missed out on the podium.

Pogačar crossed the line in fourth place after finding himself boxed in as he sprinted against Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and suddenly Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) who joined from behind in the final 300 metres.

The Tour de France champion raised his arms as he crossed the line in apparent remonstration. Beyond the line he continued to gesticulate, clearly unhappy. 

Pogačar did not initially stop to speak to the media but later spoke from the steps of his team bus and diplomatically played down any sense of controversy.

However, at the same time, UAE director Fabio Baldato made his way - on Pogačar’s bike - from the bus to the finish area. He confirmed to Cyclingnews that he had been in talks with the race jury. 

Baldato suggested the movement of Van Baarle and Madouas was "on the limit" of what’s acceptable but the matter did not go any further.

"I didn’t see the sprint from the car, so I wanted to be sure. The race commissaires took me to the video room and I watched the sprint,” Baldato told Cyclingnews

“The commissaires had the same idea as I did, that it was close. I understand that the guys in front had almost come to a stop and they came up fast. 

"For them it was a regular sprint, so I can’t complain. I just wanted to be sure. It was on the limit but that’s racing."

Baldato confirmed that Pogačar had spoken to him about the incident and that it was decided he’d go to investigate.

"[He said] you saw? I say 'no I didn’t see, but I’m going to see'. It’s like he told me go to check, let’s see, but this is normal. It’s not the first time I go to the jury to check a sprint.

"If you see Tadej go like this [wave his arms], that’s the situation. It’s all ok but I wanted to be sure, I wanted to see because I didn’t see it in the car. That’s the reason I went to the commissaires. That’s also part of my job."

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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.