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Battery of barnstorming attacks not enough for Tadej Pogačar to master Milan-San Remo

Tour de France champ attacked five times in quick succession but couldn't make it stick, putting an end to his season victory sweep.

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All eyes were on Tadej Pogačar to monster Milan-San Remo with a huge solo attack Saturday, but it was another Slovenian that stole the headlines.

Matej Mohorič’s daredevil descent from the Poggio surprised the favorites and brought Slovenia victory after Pogačar lit up the decisive coastal climb with a flurry of searing accelerations.

The Tour de France champion instead rolled home in fifth, a result that marks the tiniest of divots in a huge early season haul of victories at every race he started, with wins at the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche.

“We gave it a good shot! La Primavera was a nice race but I’m glad every stage is not 300km like today,” Pogačar later joked on social media.

Pogačar’s pummeling early season form saw the world wonder at just how far out he would attack on Saturday’s marathon monument, but the 23-year-old’s hints at an early move over the Cipressa were never to be.

The UAE Emirates captain instead waited until the traditional attack point of the Poggio, unleashing up to five separate attacks off the back of a huge haul of work from his teammates in the approach.

Pogačar’s offensive onslaught couldn’t shake the likes of closest rivals Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, and when Mohorič finally went, his illustrious countryman had no answer.

Pogačar peeled off on the technical Poggio descent, as if to say he didn’t want to take unnecessary risks ahead of his most important goals later this season.

“Congratulations to Matej Mohoric, he deserved the victory. Before the race, he told me not to try to follow him downhill and I replied that I was aware that it would be very difficult to follow him, since I know that he is crazy when the road goes down and also having noticed that he had a seat post dropper to launch even better,” he said after the race.

“When he [Mohorič] overtook me downhill, I saw that he was already taking big risks, drifting and even coming off the road, so I didn’t dare follow him,”

Up next for Pogačar are the cobbled Dwars door Vlaanderen and Tour of Flanders at the turn of this month.

Saturday’s swaggering ride at San Remo shows that if Pogačar isn’t hitting the podium, he’ll be bringing the action nonetheless. The cobbles-bashers have been warned.