Tadej Pogacar will not defend his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title, with Brandon McNulty set to replace him in the lineup.
The Tour de France champion returned to Slovenia with his partner Urska Zigart, a rider on the BikeExchange-Jayco squad, after her mother passed away due to cancer. Initially, UAE Team Emirates had planned for Pogacar to come back to Belgium to race Sunday, but he said Saturday that he will miss the last Monument of the spring.
“Sadly I won’t be at the start of Liege-Bastogne-Liege tomorrow to defend my title,” Pogacar wrote on social media. “It’s been a tough few days but I’d like to thank everybody for their understanding. A special thank you to UAE Team Emirates and especially to Mauro Gianetti and Team President Matar for their support in this situation.”
Zigart had also been scheduled to ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege but will no longer be racing. She confirmed the death of her mother on her social media earlier this week.
“Life is not fair sometimes. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I share with you this news today. My mom was my best friend and the most important person in my life,” she wrote on her own Instagram feed. “This is a very hard time for me and my family as we experience this loss and I kindly ask you for some privacy. Thank you for all the messages and support.”