It sounds a bit strange at first, coming from the man who drove everyone home in the closing time trial of the Tour de France. But Tadej Pogacar says it anyway: “Im going to work on my time trial for the next few months.”
It is one of the intentions of 22-year-old Slovene in the New Year, in which he once again makes the final victory in the Tour.
Tom Dumoulin didnt understand anything, last year on the 19th of September. “Tadej Pogacar? Who sits like a miner on a bike?” Primoz Roglic also wondered aloud what had just happened. “I gave 110 percent and I broke up. And he wins with a one-minute twenties head start. If you can drive that fast, you win every leg on one leg, right?”
The leaders of Jumbo-Visma, who themselves became second and fifth in that time trial, did not make an accusation just after the time trial, but they did not normally find it either. How Pogacar understood those comments? He says on Monday, during the online presentation of his team, this about: “They made those statements in the heat of the moment. They were disappointed.”
“ What I did was not so incredible,” continues Pogacar. “I was very well prepared, I had a great day and I did a good bike change,” the young Sloveen shrugs his shoulders on it.
“Stronger than Jumbo”
He responds soberly to another question. “Whether we can offer Jumbo a better match this year? I think we were already stronger,” he laughs. But the leader of UAE Team Emirates has studied the Tour course seriously. And he counts more flat time trial kilometers: 58 instead of 30. “Im going to train more on my time trial bike in the coming months. I barely did that before.”
His team leader Allan Peiper acknowledges that his pupil can make a profit in that. “Ive heard several people talking about his attitude inside and outside the team,” the Australian winks at Dumoulins remark. “But there is indeed always room for improvement. Hes going to work more on his attitude. His aerodynamics could be better. And we are working on a new time trial bike, we hope it will be ready just before the Tour.”
Luxury necht Hirschi
Earlier in the day, Marc Hirschi, the Swiss who surprised at the beginning of this year with a transition from Sunweb to UAE, announced that he will support Pogacar in the Tour. “Thats a new role for me, to do it for three weeks in a big round. Im going to see if my body is capable of that.”
Besides Hirschi, Pogacar also gets the experienced rider Rafal Majka from Poland as a servant. “We already had a strong team last year,” emphasises the Slovene, “only David de la Cruz and Davide Formolo were injured during the Tour.”
His programme for next year is ambitious. In addition to the Tour, he also rides the Vuelta and he drives the road race of the Olympic Games. He also starts the year in the UAE Tour, followed by the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of the Basque Country, the Walloon classics and among others the Dauphiné.
In the Tour he sees himself as a favorite again, but perhaps not the only one. “The course is not written on my body.”
He again has to deal with the leaders of Jumbo-Visma, especially with the 58 flat time trial kilometers. When asked if that team actually made a mistake in the Tour, by driving so much at the head, he says this: “They checked the race. Primoz defended yellow, which was the most logical thing to do. But I did attack a lot, I wasnt freewheeling until the last day. I think the strongest rider won the Tour.”