Tadej Pogacar crosses the finish line to win the Belgian cycling classic and UCI World Tour race Fleche Wallonne in Huy, Belgium, on Wednesday. AP
The 24-year-old Slovenian was the youngest Tour winner in 116 years when he clinched his first major title on his debut in 2020.
After lifting a second Tour de France in 2021, Pogacar swore to widen his horizons to try and conquer the tough one-day scene, which few Grand Tour riders have ever succeeded in doing.
However, when he was beaten at the Tour of Flanders in 2022, and then came second at the Tour de France, it appeared he might have bitten off more than he could chew. Those doubts have now disappeared.
Tadej Pogacar (C) celebrates on the podium with second place, Denmark's Matthias Skjelmose of the Trek Segafredo team and third place Spain's Mikel Landa of the Bahrain Victorious team. AP
"He is perhaps the best rider of all time," said Denmark's Mattias Skjelmose who was second on Wednesday. "You only see someone like him emerge once a century."
Third-placed Mikel Landa claimed "there was no way to beat Pogacar." "He's over and above the rest of us and there's nothing we can do about it."
Just three weeks ago, Mathieu van der Poel was going for a third consecutive win at the Tour of Flanders, a race seen by many hardcore fans as an unofficial world championship.
Van der Poel, however, could only watch as Pogacar's series of attacks on the many cobbled hills allowed the Slovenian to win. "I can live with second today," said Van der Poel. "Second to a rider like that is okay."
Tadej Pogacar competes on the Mur de Huy-Muur van Hoei during the 86th edition of the men's race "La Fleche Wallonne." AFP
Pogacar hinted that his growing reputation meant that while he was receiving accolades he was also getting few favours. "We had to do it all on our own today, nobody else would work," he said.
There was a similar scenario on the Tour de France in 2022 when his defiant will to win stages, as well as the main overall prize, backfired as Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard beat him to the title.
"This is racing, expect me continue," said Pogacar. "I'll go away and consider all this and see how we play it next year."
The bad news for his rivals is that on Wednesday Pogacar insisted he had learned his lessons from 2022.
"Thanks to these small mistakes and the experience of 2022, I now know more," he said. "Winning is never boring."
This weekend Pogacar faces a mouth-watering duel with Remco Evenepoel at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, with the Belgian defending champion tasked with taming the 2021 title-winner.
The 23-year-old Evenepoel is the world champion and Vuelta a Espana winner.
"I know that Liege will be the most prestigious and toughest of the three races (this week). I'll go for the win. Super motivated within a very strong team. The result, we'll see..." said Pogacar.
UAE Team Emirates leader Pogacar effectively retained the "Race of the Two Seas" run between the Mediterranean and the Adriatic when he romped away from his rivals during stage six on Saturday.
Boosting hopes of winning the title, the UAE Emirates star Tadej Pogacar claimed the victory atop Jebel Hafeet on Stage 3 - the Strata Stage - beating Ineos Grenadiers’s Adam in a two-man sprint while Colombian national champion Sergio Higuita
A 13.2km time trial will get the 109th edition of the Tour De France underway, before the riders eventually roll into the mountains and push their bodies and physical capabilities to the absolute limit.
"After two seasons in the French capital, Leo Messi’s adventure with Paris St Germain will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2022-23 campaign," PSG said in a statement.
The event featured a diverse group of emerging talents and classified athletes from prestigious clubs and academies giving excellent performances eyed enticing prizes worth more than Dhs1 million.
The four Emirati players, Abdullah Ahli, Abdullah Abdulaziz Abdullah, Fares Aljanahi and Salem Alhouli, will join a distinct team in the unique global championship.
Top-seed GM Yu Yangyi of China scored an emphatic win in Friday night’s seventh round to grab a share of the lead with defending champion GM Aravindh Chithambaram of India, who continued to struggle pulling the trigger in another promising position. Yu and Chithambaram now have 5.5 points from seven games,