'Haters gonna flag' – Tadej Pogačar keeps getting flagged on Strava

The Slovenian's mind-blowing efforts at the Giro d'Italia are attracting the suspicion - or perhaps jealousy - of fellow Strava users. 'It's a funny moment', he says

Clock10:18, Thursday 23rd May 2024
Who keeps flagging Tadej Pogačar on Strava?

© Getty Images / Strava

Who keeps flagging Tadej Pogačar on Strava?

Tadej Pogačar may be cruising towards victory at the Giro d’Italia but while none of his rivals are getting close to him on the roads of Italy, he does nevertheless have one particular thorn in his side.

He keeps getting flagged on Strava.

It turns out the world’s top-ranked male cyclist is not free from the suspicion - and perhaps jealousy - of the fellow Strava user.

His performances have, in fairness, been in a different league to some of the very best racers in the world, never mind the rest of the amateur cycling population. Still, this would seem to be the result of a joke or some extreme pettiness.

‘Flagging’ on Strava is when an activity is highlighted as questionable by a fellow user of the app. This might happen when activities show an implausible average speed, or commonly when certain Segment KOMs are taken at speeds that would only seem realistic in a motor vehicle. When a ride is flagged on Strava, the rider does not register on any leaderboards for the Segments completed on the ride.

That’s what has happened to Pogačar at least twice at this Giro d’Italia.

Read more: 8 Strava features everyone should know about

The first instance came after his victory on stage 15, the Queen stage, which was an extraordinary performance as he put three minutes into his rivals over a brutal ride through the Alps. The stats were pretty mind-blowing, with Pogačar’s Strava upload showing a distance of 220.96km and elevation gain of 5,531 metres, completed in six hours nine minutes and 47 seconds for an average speed of 35.9km/h.

Pogačar uploaded that ride with the caption: “Who TF flagged me 🤧😏😢😈”

The activity initially appeared without any KOMs but Strava later cleared the flagging, and Pogačar’s KOMs were reinstated. The most prestigious being the full Passo di Foscagna climb, where he launched his stage-winning attack and took nearly two minutes out of the previous KOM.

"It happens a lot," Pogačar said of the incident. "It's a funny moment but it's good that people can see how fast we actually go on some of these iconic climbs."

It does happen a lot, and it happened three days later. Pogačar did not win stage 17 but he still cruised away from his rivals once again on a savage day in the Dolomites. His ride – 157.56km, 4,008m elevation, 4:29:20 moving time, 35.1km/h average speed – was flagged and remains so.

This time, he addressed the issue in the title of the Strava upload: “Haters gonna flag”, which was followed up by a clapping hands emoji.

Given Pogačar’s status and Strava’s clearing his previous ride, it’s expected to be undone shortly, but he remains removed from any leaderboards from that route as things stand.

Read more: Strava leverages AI for new training and anti-cheating features

Strava is moving away from this form of raising suspicion, recently announcing a push to harness Artificial Intelligence to identify "irregular, improbable, or impossible activities". This will be known as 'AI-enabled Leaderboard Integrity' and Strava says it will "allow all users on Strava to play fair and have more fun".

Pogačar may enjoy a flag-free day as stage 18 of the Giro is a sprint or breakaway day, but he’ll be heading back into the mountains on Friday and Saturday. Will the flag follow along?

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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