Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) leapt past Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–QuickStep) on the line to secure his first Monument victory at Liege – Bastogne – Liege.
The Tour de France champion threw his bike at the line to pip the Frenchman, who relived his heartbreak after being denied by Primoz Roglic in Liege in 2020 before being disqualified.
Pogacar and Alaphilippe were part of a quintet of riders who arrived at the finish together, with David Gaudu (Groupama–FDJ) taking the final spot on the podium ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation).
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The race first came to life with 75km to go, when Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), Greg van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) all tried to force a selection with attacks. None of their attempts were ultimately successful, but some 10km later a group of three riders broke clear: Mark Donovan (Team DSM), Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal)

These three only just made contact with the stragglers of the breakaway before being swept up under the pressure created by Ineos Grenadiers. The British team used Tao Geoghegan Hart to inject some pace into proceedings on the slopes of the Côte de la Redoute, before Adam Yates took over keeping the pressure on. All this build-up led to an impressive solo move from Richard Carapaz. The Ecuadorean managed to reach the final climb of the day with a gap of 22 seconds, but was ultimately caught and spat out of the back.
With Carapaz caught it took a big attack from Woods to separate things again, and with him were Alaphilippe, Gaudu, Valverde and eventual winner Pogačar. This group went into the final 500m together, with Valverde the first to lead out the sprint. However, he and Woods looked 25% slower than the other three riders who all came around them with apparent ease. Alaphilippe looked like he was going to win, until Pogačar just nosed around him for the victory by a whisker.

“To win here against those names is incredible. I was just lucky in the end, it was a good win from me – I was starting from behind. It’s unbelievable. I’m living the cycling dream," said Pogačar.

Alaphilippe: 'I have no regrets'

Primoz Roglic did form a chasing group behind the winning quintet, but he was not helped out by the fact it contained two of Pogacar's teammates, March Hirschi and Davide Formolo. Despite finding allies in Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana PremierTech) they were unable to make inroads into the gap.

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