Since Tadej Pogacar arrived in Belgium for the Spring Cobbled Classics, his recon of the tracks was for the lay of the land in the ultimate preparation for Dwars door Vlaanderen. The training was going well and he even met with Allan Peiper so that he gets all the insight he needs.
A little insight on Allan Peiper, he served as Pogacar’s mentor in his early days and the beginning of his professional career. Peiper was also his main support when Pogacar won Tour De France in 2020. Pogacar needed reassurance and he got that, his words carried enough weight into the Slovenian’s heart. Peiper has been a resident of Belgium of almost four decades now, he knows the lay of the land, everything there is to know about racing amongst the cobblestones, but there is one thing the Slovenian lacked and that was experience.
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No matter what kind of advice is given, the biggest teacher is experience and failure. When it comes to the cobbled classics, advice can only carry you so far. Before starting the cobbled classics, Pogacar stated:
I don’t know what to expect from myself. I hope to have a good race, with good legs. And I hope not to get lost in the bunch before climbs and cobbles.
His words were persistent, especially for the race ahead. We have seen Pogacar in action many times, and his strength is never in question, we have come to expect and see great things from the Slovenian powerhouse. Although in Dwars door Vlaanderen, an error in positioning ruined his chances of winning the race.
Pogacar was put behind a group of eight aggressive riders led by the eventual winner Mathieu Van Der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). When pushed back, he followed up with the chase group but could never catch up with the group in the front.
There was a lot of effort from Pogacar’s side, his lone pursuit on the Côte de Trieu is enough proof. He was joined in by Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ). After the race, Pogacar described his feelings:
It was a hard race the whole day. At the key moment, there was a crash and I had to stay behind. I missed the front group. I tried to come back with an effort, but they were too strong in the front, too fast. Then we tried again and again, and in the end, it was a good race.
This defeat at the Dwars door Vlaanderen will serve as a lesson for Tadej Pogacar which will allow him to return even stronger than before. The next target is the Tour of Flanders, and we will not have to wait long for that. Catch all the latest updates at IceBike!
Featured Image Via YouTube/Cycling Pro Net