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Dani Ostanek

'The form is good' - Tadej Pogacar returns from altitude to target Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) celebrates the third of four stage victories during his dominant Volta a Catalunya victory.

Almost a month on from his dominant victory at the Volta a Catalunya, Tadej Pogačar will return to racing at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday as he seeks to add a sixth Monument title to his palmarès.

The Slovenian heads up a UAE Team Emirates squad built to take on other favourites including Mathieu van der Poel and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), with the likes of João Almeida, Marc Hirschi, and Diego Ulissi all in the seven-rider UAE Team Emirates line-up.

Pogačar won Liège-Bastogne-Liège three years ago, winning a sprint from a small group at the end of cycling's oldest Monument, having taken third the year before.

He was a non-finisher last year, crashing out and fracturing his wrist and ruining a large part of his season in the process. 

This time around he will be aiming to draw level with Van der Poel as the active rider with the most Monument wins on six apiece.

Finn Fisher-Black, Sjoerd Bax, and Domen Novak are set to round out the squad supporting Pogačar, who heads to the Ardennes from a pre-Giro d'Italia altitude training camp.

"Liège is one of my favourite races and also one of the hardest, so it's always nice to go back there," Pogačar said as he makes his final preparations for his final Classic of a limited racing spring. 

"Since Catalunya, I've spent some time at altitude with some teammates and we've been building up well together towards the Giro.

"For these Ardennes races, we have a very dynamic team. The form is good, and I think I can do well but on [the] whole, the team is very strong and we'll have options which is always an advantage. I'm excited to pin on a race number again on Sunday."

Before taking on La Doyenne, UAE Team Emirates will send many of the same riders to Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne, minus Pogačar, of course.

Juan Ayuso, João Almeida, and 2020 race winner Marc Hirschi are set to lead the team into the battle up the leg-breakingly steep Mur de Huy. 

Fisher-Black, Novak, Ulissi and Brandon McNulty complete the squad for the 199km race, which will see the peloton tackle four ascents of the famous finishing climb for the first time.

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