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Pro peloton astounded by Pogačar’s, van der Poel’s, and van Aert’s performance levels

Pro peloton astounded by Pogačar's, van der Poel's, and van Aert's performance levels

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) took four out of seven stages at the Volta a Catalunya. There was no contest between him and his “rivals.” He broke away a whopping 81 km before the finish at Strade Bianche, finishing almost three minutes ahead of second.

At the E3 Saxo Classic, Mathieu van der Poel went clear with 44 km to go. Although Wout van Aert had bad luck at the wrong time–crashing when his Dutch rival launched, he would do his best to try and catch him. It effectively became a two-man race, although the Belgian would eventually give up the chase and finish third.

How to beat the unbeatable?

A fatigued and worked-over MvdP would take second to Lidl-Trek’s Danish sensation, Mads Pedersen, sure. However many in the pro peloton have begun to think that when Pog, van Aert or van der Poel are there, it’s a race for second.

Before Gent – Wevelgem, Pedersen wasn’t even sure that van der Poel could be beaten, even with his strong Lidl – Trek squad. “I don’t know,” the former world champion said. “We try but even there, at E3, we have four guys and he is still capable of beating us. This guy is just the best in the world and it’s not easy to deal with.”

Jayco AlUla’s Michael Matthews, who finished second at Milan – San when asked how to beat van der Poel, was quite unsure, to say the least. “I don’t know,” the Australian said. “He’s pretty much unbeatable at the moment.”

Racing for second

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale’s Oliver Naesen said to GCN that if van der Poel is racing, and someone thinks they are going to win–they are fooling themselves. “Today, if you speak to Mathieu, he will say ‘I race for the win’. Anybody else who says that, they’re not really being 100 per honest,” he said. “It’s quite shocking from within the race as well “When the difference between the top guys and yourself is so high, it’s not demoralizing at all actually, because there’s not much you can do. It’s natural. I’m just being honest actually. You can just do your best and finish where you finish. What else is there to do?”

Tadej Pogacar was super pissed when a moto getting in the way of his attack

When it comes to beating Pog, pros are basically admitting it’s nearly impossible. “I know people hate the defeatist attitude, but the race is for second now,” pro George Bennett of Israel-PremierTech said to Cycling Weekly before Stage 6 of the Volta a Catalunya. “If he buggers 60 km from the…

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