Tadej Pogacar feels ready to defend his title in the Tour de France from Saturday. “I start here with peace and comfort,” said the Slovenian of the UAE-UAE team.
Last year, Pogacar was still an outsider, and now it’s starting as a top favourite. “However, I don’t really consider myself the captain. I wouldn’t lead my teammates, because I don’t have the most experience in the team. I might be the captain, but the job of the road captain is akin to Rui (Costa), Wiegard (Stik Langen) or Rafale (Majka). )”.
The UAE team will start with a stronger squad than last year with newcomers Rafal Majka and Mark Hershey. Brandon McNulty will also be present and we hope Italy’s Davide Formolo team can stay in the race a little longer this year than in 2020.
The environment I’m racing in is very important.
“The environment in which I’m racing is very important,” Pujakar says. “As a rider, you’ll be more comfortable if everyone around you is too. If everyone is relaxed, if you can have fun. The atmosphere in the group was good last year and it will be this year.”
Pogacar won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and then the belt was broken for a while. “I made it easy for a week, did some cycling with my girlfriend (who is also a professional cyclist) and then followed through with some media commitments.”
The first week will be tense.
Pogacar has studied the course very well. “The first week will be very tense, more tense than last year. But I think it will be fun too.”
“These first two stages are hard, you can’t predict who will win. It will be exciting. And then you have the mountain stages. I have explored almost all of them. It will be difficult.”
This was followed by an anecdote about his exploration of the mountain drive to Tignes. “We were at a training camp at the time and decided to explore that stage. On the penultimate climb, before Tignes, it was very cold and there was snow on the road.”
“We couldn’t go any further. So we hesitated for a moment: Shall we go back and not see the end in Tignes or drag ourselves out of here?”
“It was the last thing and it wasn’t that bad. The snow spread out only 200 meters or so. It was a little bit high, which was a great thing, but unfortunately the car couldn’t go any further. I had to drive for three hours.”
Pogacar was on the highest stride last year.
“Every day he left”
A fairly standard answer came from his opponents. “There are many strong teams at the start here, but that’s always the case. The level is high in every game.”
“On the tour, you have to focus on yourself, be busy with yourself, be well motivated and try not to make mistakes. Every day is gone, and has obstacles. No, I’m not busy with that last difficult week yet. Be decisive, but I will look at It’s day after day.”
In the tour you have to focus on yourself.