More like twice than once for Tadej Pogacar and Lotte Kopecky.

The two cyclists won the Strade Bianche on Saturday March 2 for the second time in their respective careers.

The Slovenian cyclist did not miss his return: Tadej Pogacar (UAE) flew through the race, his first of the 2024 season, after a solo raid of more than 80 kilometers in Siena.

“Pogi” began 2024 as it ended 2023, with impressive success in Italy.

Since his victory in the Tour of Lombardy on October 7 – his third in a row in the last Monument of the year – the Slovenian phenomenon of the UAE team has changed his haircut with peroxide highlights, but not his champion habits .

He disgusted the competition, then reduced to a group of around twenty runners under the leadership of two of his teammates and washed out by a violent downpour, leaving him company 81 km from the finish line.

The Slovenian, already winner of this Italian event in 2022, picked up the pace on the difficult path to Monte Sante Marie.

“I wanted to toughen up the race quickly”

No one, not even the Briton Tom Pidcock (Ineos), winner in Siena in 2023, could resist him.

He quickly counted twenty seconds ahead, without giving the impression of being 100%. 

Under the returning sun, the double winner of the Tour de France, his bike stained with the white dust of the Tuscan roads, continued his effort and quickly made his pursuers give up, relegated to more than two minutes.

Extended by thirty kilometers, the 2024 edition of the Strade Bianche looked like for Pogacar, all smiles in the finale, like a simple training outing through the superb Tuscan hills until arriving at the monumental Piazza del Campo.

“No one probably expected me to attack so early, I wanted to toughen up the race quickly (...) The team did a great job, but it was a difficult race,” he said. he judges.

“When you start your season, it’s tough from a mental point of view, I’m happy with how the day went.”

“A difficult victory to achieve” for Lotte Kopecky

Belgian Lotte Kopecky, 2023 road cycling world champion, also won the Strade Bianche for the second time in her career at the end of the 137 km Italian semi-classic.

Lotte Kopecky, winner of the event in 2022 and second in 2023, let go of the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini 500 m from the finish, and won with four seconds in advance.

“I didn't feel very good today, though. It was a difficult victory to achieve,” explained Lotte Kopecky, who won the Tour of Flanders in 2023.

Dutchwoman Demi Vollering completes the podium after crossing the finish line 26 seconds after Lotte Kopecky, her teammate on the SD Worx team.

With AFP

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