Pogačar on Winning Amstel Gold Race: ‘It was really tight, and really nervous at one moment’

By Monica Buck

Tadej Pogačar, a cyclist who seems to defy description, has once again proven his mettle with a powerful solo victory at the Amstel Gold Race. After leaving Tom Pidcock and Ben Healy behind on the Keutenberg with 29 km left, he secured his win in a style that has become his trademark.

The 16-member breakaway group that included Pidcock and Healy formed with 90 km left in the race. Both cyclists managed to keep up with Pogačar during his first push on the Eyserbosweg, which happened with 36 km to go. However, they were no match for his next burst of speed on the Keutenberg, and Pogačar quickly left them in his wake.

The rest of the race saw Pogačar effortlessly conquer the Cauberg and cross the finish line with a substantial lead. Healy, who has shown impressive form this spring, managed to overtake Pidcock on the Geulhemmerberg to claim second place. Pidcock, clearly struggling, still held off Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Qazaqstan) to secure third place, finishing 2 min 14 sec behind Pogačar.

Amstel Gold Race
The Amstel Gold Race is a very gruelling one in that it includes 33 short, steep climbs, for a total altitude gain of 3,290 metres, over its 253.6-kilometre route. © Profimedia

Despite experiencing a deflating tyre before the Kruisberg, which he had to ride on for an extended period before switching bikes, Pogačar remained unfazed. “I did not expect that we’d go in the breakaway so early, and I was on a sort of flat tyre for many kms in the front and I was doubting I could come to the finish solo,” Pogačar admitted. Fortunately, he managed to change his bike and rejoin the race in time for the final climbs.

“I was really frustrated because we didn’t have cars for such a long time, but we managed to get the bike just in time before the final climbs. It was really tight, and really nervous, at one moment.”

Pogačar credited Mathieu van der Poel for his winning strategy, as he had suggested in a text that Pogačar make his move on the Keutenberg. With this victory, Pogačar becomes the fourth cyclist in history to win both the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour of Flanders in the same spring. His performance also positions him as a favourite for the upcoming Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège races.

2023 Amstel Gold Race results (253.6 km)

  1. POGAČAR Tadej (SLO) – 06:02:02
  2. HEALY Ben (IRL) – +38
  3. PIDCOCK Tom (GBR) – +2:14
  4. KRON Andreas (DEN) – +2:14
  5. LUTSENKO Alexey (KAZ) – +2:14
  6. BAGIOLI Andrea (ITA) – +3:14
  7. VAN GILS Maxim (BEL) – +3:14
  8. SKJELMOSE JENSEN Mattias (DEN) – +3:14
  9. KAMP Alexander (DEN) – +3:14
  10. ZINGLE Axel (FRA) – +3:14