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Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) leads Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
Tadej Pogačar: Primož Roglič will be even better at Bora-Hansgrohe
'Maybe one year I’ll need to calm down and just do preparation races for the Tour de France' Slovenian tells GCN
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Speaking exclusively to GCN at the A&J All Sports agency event this Sunday, Pogačar also talked about his Spring Classics options before insisting that his 2024 Grand Tour programme had not been finalised.
“For me, it’s gonna be the same, but for Roglič it will be even better at Bora, and it opens the competition more because he split with Jumbo. So now there is Jumbo and also Bora, so it’s a bigger competition,” Pogačar said.
The most common question Pogačar has faced throughout the off-season has centred on next season's Grand Tour programme, and whether he will race Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, or if he will try the mighty double.
“I answered this question five or six times and the answer is the same: I still don’t know the programme,” Pogačar told GCN.
“It’s up to the team to decide what I race, so until they release the program I cannot say too much.”
The 2023 season has been a really busy one for the Slovenian rider. He started racing - and winning - in the first half of February with victories at the Vuelta a Andalucia and Paris-Nice.
He then took on a massive Spring Classics campaign, which saw him ride Milan-San Remo and E3 Harelbeke before taking sensational wins at the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne. A bad crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege left him with a fractured wrist, which compromised his build-up for the Tour de France.
It’s almost certain that Pogačar’s 2024 spring will take on a similar approach to this year.
“I think we can expect a similar season next year, with some modifications obviously. It's also the Olympic year so it’s gonna be an interesting season in any way.”
Pogačar’s fractured wrist forced him to stop training during a crucial moment of the season, and because of that injury he lost ground to eventual Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard. The Dane claimed his second Tour de France title in a row this summer with Pogačar finishing on the runners-up spot for the second consecutive season.
In the coming years it’s not clear if Pogačar will race less in the first part of the season, and whether he will take a similar approach to Vingegaard, but the Slovenian admitted that it could certainly be an option.
“I don't know. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for me. I like to try different things, different scenarios, maybe one year I will need to calm down and just do preparation races and focus on the Tour”.
UAE Team Emirates have been highly active in the transfer market this off-season and have recruited several strong riders to help Pogačar in both the stage races and Classics. Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) and Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) have both joined the team but the squad lost climber and domestique Davide Formolo to Movistar.
“I’m really sad that we lost some really good riders, but on the other hand, we also gained really good riders, so I would say it’s a super good team. We already met each other in October and it was fantastic. I would say it’s a super team,” says Pogačar.
When it comes to a possible Tour de France challenge, the Slovenian was open with regard to his possible support team. This year Adam Yates started as co-leader and eventually finished on the podium after winning a stage and taking the yellow jersey.
“It doesn’t matter if one among Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso or João Almeida will be the co-captain of the team. I don’t mind, with two leaders there are a little bit different tactics, but with one leader all the pressure is on that guy. It’s different but both can work really well."
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Gianluca is a journalist and cycling enthusiast that takes care of the Italian content for GCN