Tadej Pogacar adds Dwars door Vlaanderen to Tour de France cobblestone reconnaissance trip
Tadej Pogačar has added Dwars door Vlaanderen to his spring racing schedule, to give him two tastes of racing on the cobbles in preparation for this year’s Tour de France stage on the cobblestone Paris-Roubaix.
The UAE Team Emirates rider has already confirmed that he will participate in the Tour of Flanders on April 3 and according to The Team, he will now travel to Belgium a few days earlier to also ride Dwars door Vlaanderen on March 30.
He should carry out a careful reconnaissance of the Tour de France stage across the border between the two races.
Immediately after getting a taste of the cobbles, Pogačar will fly to the Basque Country to compete in the six-day Itzulia Pays Basque stage race, before returning later to Belgium for the Ardennes Classics.
“We’re not used to hosting a Tour winner in our race. It’s an honor for us,” said Dwars door Vlaanderen race director Guy Delesie. The Team, revealing Pogačar’s presence at the race.
Pogačar’s racing trip to Flanders centers around gaining cobblestone racing experience ahead of the Tour de France.
However, he wants to try his hand at other classic races after winning Il Lombardia and intends to race Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia. In early January, Pogačar took part in a Slovenian cyclo-cross race to brush up on his cycling skills. He was Slovenian national cyclo-cross champion in 2018.
“It’s a new challenge for me and it will definitely help for the Tour de France and the cobbles,” Pogačar said recently.
“To get a feel for the roads and the cobbles. You can do the recce after the race and the experience that goes with it.”
Pogačar is set to race in Flanders alongside UAE Team Emirates Classics contenders Matteo Trentin, Fernando Gaviria, Marc Hirschi and Pascal Ackermann.
Stage 5 of the Tour de France starts in Lille and includes 11 cobbled sectors on the way to the famous mining town of Arenberg Porte du Hainaut. There is no Trouée d’Arenberg on the course but five of the sectors are often taken from Paris-Roubaix. Regardless of the weather, the cobblestones will pose a tough challenge to the peloton in July and possibly lead to significant loss of timers overall.
The 2010 trip to Arenberg saw Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso lose minutes when Fränk Schleck crashed, while in 2014 reigning wet stage champion Chris Froome crashed before the cobbles while ‘Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde lost a lot of time against eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali.
Dwars door Vlaanderen is considered a mini Tour of Flanders as it is full of characteristic Flemish cobbled climbs and cobblestone sections. Dylan Van Baarle won the race in 2021 and two additional sections of cobbles have been added to the 2022 course.
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