Tadej Pogačar has decided to make Terre di Siena his amusement park for a day. And he didn’t even have to ask anyone’s permission: on the gravel section of Monte Sante Marie he shifted up his gear and began to whirl on the pedals, hardly-ever getting off the saddle, and without looking back. Within a few hundred metres, even world champion Julian Alaphilippe, battered by a back flip a few minutes earlier, realised that there was little he could do today and that it would be better to make himself available to his teammate Kasper Asgreen.
Thus, Pogačar had the luxury of tackling the final gravel sections, Monteaperti, Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe, usually the supreme judges of the Strade Bianche, with a reassuring lead over his rivals of over a minute. By the end of the race, the kilometre counter showed 50 km of solitary riding, only the latest in a career that, although only in its dawning stages, is already full of such feats. Just to recap: two Tour de France, one Strade Bianche, one Lombardia, one Liège-Bastogne-Liège, one Tirreno-Adriatico, two UAE Tours, 34 victories as a professional. All in three seasons (and one month) as a professional. Not bad indeed.
A phenomenon destined to win everything and everywhere. However, we are quite sure that he will always remember the suggestive scenery of the Sienese gravel roads. In 15 years’ time, people will still be saying “Do you remember when Pogačar almost effortlessly left everyone behind on Monte Sante Marie…?”.