Pogačar outsprinted local rider Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) to win the final monument of the season Saturday and become the first rider since Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx to win two monuments and the Tour in one year.
“I'm speechless, it's crazy to be here to celebrate this success at the end of a season like this," Pogačar said at the finish. “I’m without words.”
Pogačar’s second monument win after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège this April confirms the 23-year-old as one of the most dominant climbers and all-rounders of the current generation, and maybe of cycling history.
“For me every victory is important,” Pogačar said. “Especially this one – I’ve been dreaming to start Lombardia and to race with the best in Italy for a long time. Now I’m here and I took the victory, it’s just crazy.”
It was the 23-year-old's debut at the Italian monument, with the phenom of road cycling putting his name among the all-time greats, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx in winning the Tour de France and two monuments in the same season. The Slovenian star waited until the final main climb of the day, the Passo di Ganda, shedding an elite group including Remco Evenepoel, Julian Alaphilippe (both Deceuninck-QuickStep), Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
He was later joined by Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on the descent, the Slovenian nearly crashing on one occasion, while the local rider, Masnada, made up significant time.
"The race was very tough, even before I made my move,” Pogačar said. "When I attacked, I was sure someone would come with me. Downhill, Masnada joined me, I knew he would gain on me in the technical part of the descent from Passo Ganda, since he knows these roads very well, and I knew that he would not collaborate with me when he reached me, but I still had the legs and the drive to beat him in the sprint."
Pogačar again produced a top-notch sprint to claim victory, showing that he's more than a climber, reminiscent of his sprint to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier in the year ahead of Alaphilippe.
Masnada finished second in his home race, with Yates sprinting to third from the chasing group, 51 seconds adrift of the front pair.
Pogačar continues to write his name into the history books with his performances, but doesn't plan on reading them anytime soon.
"I just like riding my bike, going to races and giving my all," said Pogačar. "If I make history or not, I just enjoy it. I don't think about what's going to be. I just enjoy the moment."