Tadej Pogačar posted a six-hour recon of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège route on Strava yesterday after he and the rest of his UAE Team Emirates squad were not allowed to ride La Flèche Wallonne due to ‘false positive’ Covid-19 tests.
Pogačar would have been hoping to be up there with his main rival Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and eventual winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) battling it out for the race win at Flèche Wallonne, but instead, he made use of the time to have a look at the roads of the third Monument of the season.
UAE Team Emirates decided to make the most of the time and took a look at the roads that will be used for this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège in an epic 209.3km ride that covered almost the entire route of Sunday’s race.
Pogačar was clearly going for it as well as he set various personal bests including on the Côte de Stockeu, which features 179km into the 259.5km race. The Slovenian wasn’t quite able to take a PR on the race’s final climb, the Roche aux Faucons, but still rode just 16 seconds slower than the KOM time he set in last year’s race. Pogačar rode the average 11 per cent climb of just over a kilometre at around 20kmh. For the entire ride he averaged 34.3kph for the 6-06-22 duration.
UAE Team Emirates also had last year’s second place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Marc Hirschi on the recon as well as former world champion Rui Costa, Davide Formolo, Jan Polanc and Vegard Stake Laengen.
The ride started just outside the town of Hotton halfway along the route towards Bastogne out of Liège before following the race route and stopping at the three green zones that will be along the route. Pogačar posted the team’s stops and a couple of shots from his ride on his Instagram story where they looked to be taking it easy.
The 2020 Tour de France champion tweeted his frustration about not racing Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday: “We all have negative and we don’t start Flèche Wallone.
We had false-positive yesterday but came three times negative afterwards.”
Pogačar will have good memories of Liège-Bastogne-Liège after his third place in last year’s race just after the Tour de France in the rejigged season. He finished behind Hirschi and fellow countryman Roglič after Alaphilippe was disqualified due to a dangerous sprint.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège takes place this Sunday (April 25) and covers 259.1km taking in 11 categorised climbs along the way. The favourites are expected to be the likes of Pogačar, Roglič, Alaphilippe, Hirschi as well as young British hope Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers).