Ineos Grenadiers showed interest in signing Tadej Pogačar between Tour de France and Vuelta a España
'If they are interested in Tadej they must find a deal with UAE' says Pogačar's agent
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Tadej Pogačar flanked by Ineos Grenadiers riders at the 2023 Tour de France
The two-time Tour de France winner is under contract with UAE Team Emirates until the end of 2027 and by all accounts, he is happy with his current surroundings. However, Ineos Grenadiers remain on the hunt for a bonafide GC leader as owner Jim Ratcliffe sets his sights on winning the Tour de France for the first time since 2019.
It’s widely believed within the Ineos Grenadiers camp that they do not currently have a rider capable of winning the Tour in the immediate future. Carlos Rodríguez finished fifth and won a stage this year, and Tom Pidcock has yet to reach his full potential, but the team currently don't have a rider who can compete with the might of Jumbo-Visma, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) or Pogačar.
The team have moved mountains to try and entice Evenepoel away from Soudal Quick-Step but with little success so far. A possible merger between the Belgian team and Jumbo-Visma may open up the chance of capturing Evenepoel for 2024 or 2025, while Primož Roglič also remains on the team’s wishlist, despite Jumbo-Visma’s public intent to keep their four-time Grand Tour winner.
Pogačar, on the other hand, turned pro with UAE Team Emirates in 2019 and immediately shot to the top of the sport, finishing on the podium at the Vuelta before winning back-to-back Tours in 2020 and 2021.
His agent, Alex Carera, who has strong ties to every WorldTour team and has worked with a string of superstars over the years such as Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, confirmed to GCN that Ineos Grenadiers asked about Pogačar’s position in between this year's Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
"For sure they are interested in Tadej but at this time he is under contract with UAE until 2027," Carera told GCN. "If Ineos are interested in him before that date then they need to talk to UAE Team Emirates.
"For sure they’re interested if he’s not under contract because Ineos’ goal is to be one of the best teams in the world. If you want to be the best then you need the best riders. If they are interested in Tadej they must find a deal with UAE first of all.
"In the last few months I can confirm that Ineos asked me if Tadej was free or not. But I told them he is under contract."
GCN reached out to both Ineos Grenadiers and UAE Team Emirates for a comment. Neither team has responded at this point in time.