Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar won the Tour of Flanders to become the first male cyclist since 1975 to win both the prestigious one-day race and the Tour de France.
Pogacar is the third Tour winner to triumph in Flanders after France’s Louison Bobet (1955) and Belgian great Eddy Merckx (1975).
“It was amazing. It’s a day I’ll never forget,” said 24-year-old Pogacar.
It is his third victory in one of the the five Monument one-day races.
Pogacar has previously won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.
He finished 16 seconds ahead of last year’s winner Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel, with Denmark’s Mads Pederson in third.
Pogacar pulled away from the pack chasing former champion Pederson in the cobbled Old Quaremont hill with around 20km to go and hung on for victory.
“I knew I had to go solo in the Quaremont to have a chance to win and that’s what I did although I was at the limit before.
“I could retire after today and would be proud of my career.”
Pogacar won the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021 and the two Monument wins missing from his collection are Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.
Belgian rider Lotte Kopecky, 27, retained the Women’s Tour of Flanders title, while ADQ team-mate Demi Vollering of the Netherlands came second. Italian Elisa Longo Borghini finished third.
Men’s Tour of Flanders results
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 6hours 12mins 7secs
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/Alpecin-Deceuninck) +16secs
3. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek-Segafredo) + 1min 12secs
4. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) Same time
5. Neilson Powless (US/EF Education-EasyPost)
6. Stefan Kung (Sui/Groupama-FDJ)
7. Kasper Asgreen (Den/Soudal-Quick-Step)
8. Fred Wright (GBR/Bahrain Victorious)
9. Matteo Jorgenson (US/Movistar) + 1min 19secs
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) + 2mins 49secs