Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar celebrates winning of the Strade Bianche (White Roads) cycling race, in Siena, Italy, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Gian Mattia D’Alberto/LaPresse via AP) SIENA, Italy (AP) _ Two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar displayed his dominance with an unprecedented long-distance solo attack to win the Strade Bianche race on Saturday.
It was a different story in the women’s race, with Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky holding off two-time champion Annemiek van Vleuten in a two-woman sprint.
Pogacar attacked with 50 kilometers (31 miles) to go in the 184-kilometer (114-mile) race through Tuscany on the eighth of 11 sections of white, gravel roads. The Slovenian with UAE Team Emirates quickly opened up an advantage of more than a minute and finished 37 seconds ahead of 41-year-old Alejandro Valverde and 46 seconds ahead of Kasper Asgreen of Denmark. “I didn’t really plan my attack but Monte Sante Maria is always the most important point of the race,” Pogacar said. “I expected riders to come along but nobody did so I had no choice other than to commit 100% to reaching the finishing line solo.”
In the 16-year history of the race, nobody had come close to pulling off an attack so far from the finish. The next longest successful attack was made by 2007 champion Alexandr Kolobnev, who made his move 19 kilometers (12 miles) from the finish in 2007 _ the first year the race was held.
Making matters more impressive was that Pogacar was involved in a mass crash early in […]