Pogačar on Winning Tour of Flanders: “I could retire after today and I would be very proud of my career.”

By Monica Buck

The Slovenian has now won three out of the five Monuments. Is the complete set a question of “if” or “when”? What do you think?

Tadej Pogačar (24) attacked on the Kwaremont with 17 km to go, holding onto the win in Oudenaarde ahead of Mathieu van der Poel. That makes it 9 wins out of just 16 race days for the UAE rider. He’s got Paris-Roubaix and Milan-Sanremo left to complete the Monuments set and become just the fourth man after Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vlaeminck to win all five races.

“We will not give up,” Pogačar mentioned the record after the race. “We leave it in reserve. I think I have to gain some kilos for Roubaix and gain strength in my hands. We saw in Sanremo it is the most difficult, [but] this year I have been in one of my best forms of my life.

“I could retire after today and I would be very proud of my career. I can be happy and proud. It was an incredible job by the team today. A day I will never forget.

“We were coming with speed onto the cobbles, really suffering, so the entry into the climb [Kwaremont] is all about giving it all the power to the top. It’s very long to the top so it’s my favourite. I knew I just had to go on the Kwaremont. I gave everything, and then I almost did crack on the Paterberg. I knew it was going to be hard, but it was the only option for me.”

Can’t wait for the Sunday in hell either? Just a few days away now!

2023 Tour of Flanders results

1. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) – 6:12:07
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) + 16 seconds
3. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) + 1:12
4. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
5. Neilson Powless (EF Education – EasyPost)
6. Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ)
7. Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep)
8. Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious)
9. Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) + 1:19
10. Matteo Trentin (UAE-Team Emirates)