Evenepoel defends Liege-Bastogne-Liege title as Pogacar crashes out


Remco Evenepoel claimed back-to-back wins in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege with a stunning solo ride to victory while Tadej Pogacar was forced to abandon the race after fracturing his wrist in a crash.

Evenepoel first attacked with about 34km left with Ineos Grenadiers’ Tom Pidcock joining him at the front. But Evenepoel attacked again on the next climb to leave the Briton behind with 30 km to go.

Despite the rain and wet roads, Evenepoel looked like he was in his element and he reached the top of Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, the final climb, with a lead of one minute and 18 seconds.

As the 23-year-old finished his final descent, he was already celebrating his win with the Soudal Quick-Step car before he crossed the finish line to become the first rider to win the race in consecutive years since Michele Bartoli in 1998.

“It was a difficult race, with the rain the roads were quite slippery. My back wheel went a bit like it did last year (on a turn),” Evenepoel said.

“But we stayed calm, handled it well and stuck to our plan, which was to attack after La Redoute and I knew I should go for it on the new unclassified climb. That was where I had to create the biggest difference on the chasers.”

The world champion, wearing number one on his rainbow jersey, urged the crowd to raise the volume as he crossed the finish line with his arms outstretched.

“Winning with this beautiful jersey is wonderful. I said I wanted the picture with the jersey to put in my bedroom,” Evenepoel added.

Pidcock finished second after beating Santiago Buitrago in a sprint to the finish, more than a minute behind Evenepoel, while Ben Healy was fourth.

Pidcock said he did not risk chasing Evenepoel on the last attack as he was worried about running out of steam and losing a podium place.

“I was on the limit and I knew I could either commit full gas and maybe end up with nothing or wait a bit and try and go for second and I still got second. So I think the plan paid off,” he said.


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