Connect with us


Pogacar vows to “hold his horses” in Tour de France title tilt

Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar says he has revised last year’s flawed strategy as he chases a third title starting Saturday in Bilbao.

The Slovenian on Thursday admitted his aggressive approach last year, constantly chasing stage wins, proved costly as he finished second behind Jonas Vingegaard.

On Thursday, as the 176 riders readied to embark on a parade around Bilbao, Pogacar was able to smile about his reputation for attacking bravado.

“The best thing would be to get the yellow jersey on stage 20,” said the 24-year-old Team UAE rider.

The slightly built, boyish rider went on to describe which part of the race he was focusing on.

“I have practised in the Alps and on the time-trial course,” he said of stages that come in the final week.

Cyclists rarely answer questions on strategy and it would be no surprise if Pogacar, despite saying he would be patient, were to spring an attack early.

“When you have an opportunity you have to take it,” he said responding to a question about the hilly opening stage  in the rolling green Bilbao back-country that would normally suit him.

“But you need to hold your horses,” he said, sounding a note of caution previously absent from his vocabulary.

“You learn every year, this year we will try to do better in how to win the Tour. Last year I was strong enough to do it but maybe didn’t approach it right.”

‘Mentality is super good’

Team UAE announced this week that the Pogacar would race as co-captain with British rider Adam Yates, recently arrived from Ineos.

UAE team chief Mauro Gianetti said the move was due to doubts over Pogacar’s fitness.

Pogacar was on dazzling form before he broke a wrist in a fall in April and was forced out of the saddle ahead of his bid to claim back the Tour title.

“I have 70 percent mobility in my wrist,” he said. “Two out of the three bones are healed.” 

“I haven’t been racing but the legs are good and the mentality is super good,” he said.

But Pogacar said he has mixed feelings going into the first week because of the injury.

“The first week has basically everything,” he said of the sprints, mountains in the Pyrenees and hilly Basque Country.

“I was really excited at first but because of the accident I’m a bit less excited now than before.” 

A year ago, Jumbo’s collective strength helped Dane Vingegaard, more resilient on the toughest climbs, outlast the daring Pogacar, who won the previous two editions.

This Tour is being sold as a rematch, or act three of that duel.

Pogacar insisted that Vingegaard was not his chief concern.

“I don’t have their performance in my mind. I have mine in my mind. In cycling you need to focus on yourself,” he said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Cycling