A 50km solo raid saw the Slovenian take victory at Strade Bianche in fine fashion and affirm his dominance in the men’s peloton.
Words: Joe Robinson Photography: Chris Auld
Tadej Pogačar attacked with 50km remaining to win Strade Bianche solo in a performance that proved he’s likely the most versatile men’s cyclist since Bernard Hinault in the 1980s.
The 23-year-old won the white roads Classic with a throwback performance that was reminiscent of the days of Eddy Merckx and Roger de Vlaeminck, adding to a palmarès that already includes two Tour de France titles, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and Il Lombardy.
A man who rides like he has nothing to lose, Pogačar made the most of a whirlwind day that saw strong gusts of wind quite literally blow half the peloton off the road.
He rewarded by being knighted as cycling’s latest ‘Campionissimo’ by Merckx, while Bradley Wiggins described him as ‘f **** g incredible’.
Pogacar is off racing Tirreno-Adriatico now, a race he will probably win. After that, debuts at Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. It’s not out of the question he’ll win one, maybe both of them too.
At the very least, whoever does win will be made to work for their result by Pogačar because ther’s no way the Slovenian goes quietly.
He is the new Merckx after all.
Here are the best images captured on the day by Chris Auld.
Strade Bianche 2022 gallery
Strade Bianche takes place across the picturesque white gravel roads and gravel roads of Italy’s Tuscany region. Riding there should be on the bucket list of every cyclist.
22-year-old Ben Turner is having a stellar debut season in the WorldTour with Ineos Grenadiers so far.
The calm before the storm, quite literally.
When you are as strong as Pogacar, helmet aerodynamics are not a big deal.
A tough day at the office for Team DSM’s Chris Hamilton. The bloody lever and dirty teeth give that away.
The Olympic champion Richard Carapaz was there and thereabouts all day but eventually faded to 30th to the finish line.
Arguably, ride of the day was Alejandro Valverde. The 41-year-old chased back onto the peloton after a major crash and managed to finish second, his best result ever at Strade Bianche.
The fact that Julian Alaphilippe managed to get back onto his bike after having front-flipped over the bars in a crash is quite phenomenal.
Is anybody out there going to stop the Pogrock dominance?
Despite working in service of Alaphilippe for most of the day, QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl’s Kasper Asgreen managed to finish third. A good sign for races to come.
Groupama-FDJ’s Lewis Askey digging deep.
The Via Santa Catarina but not how you know it.
Thibaut Pinot watch.
Excited for more pro cycling? Read our guide to the 2022 Classics and our full WorldTeam team bikes rundown.