Tadej Pogačar is already preparing for the Tour de France in July, as he aims to win the prestigious race for the third consecutive year at just 23 years old.
Talk to RTV Slovenia, Pogačar has revealed his plans for the coming weeks as he slowly builds up his workload to prepare optimally for the Tour. He also spoke of the extra pressure winning the Tour has created for him over the past two years, suggesting he will use it to fuel it rather than let it get in the way of his ambition.
“I’m slowly accelerating the training process of the Tour de France preparations,” he said.
“The pressure for this year’s Tour is already there, but it gives me extra motivation. I know that the people around me believe in me. I’m going to the Tour with an approach to be able to repeat again and win the yellow jersey for the third time.”
In order to prepare, the UAE Team Emirates rider will do the reconnaissance of some key stages of the Tour next weekend in the Pyrenees. Stages 17 and 18, to Peyragudes and Hautacam respectively, could both prove crucial in Pogačar’s bid for another Tour de France crown.
Clearly trying to spare no effort, he will also pass three stages in the Alps, including the decisive climb of Alpe d’Huez on the twelfth day.
“We are already thinking about the Tour de France,” he said. “Next weekend I’m going to the Pyrenees to see the stages of this year’s race, then the time trial and then three stages in the Alps. I’ll be busy before altitude training, we’re already on the Tour.”
After his reconnaissance of the aforementioned Tour stages, Pogačar will then travel to Livigno in Italy for three weeks to undergo training at altitude. The 23-year-old will then take part in the Tour of Slovenia in mid-June to get more used to the racing pace he will need ahead of the Tour which starts on July 1.
According to the Slovenian, the biggest threat he will face in defending the yellow jersey will come from fellow countryman Primož Roglič. Pogačar claims that the two runners motivate each other because of the level at which they both perform.
“We drive to the finish line, everyone wants to win for their team. It will be the same on the Tour, I’m already looking forward to this duel – of course there are others – but it’s also in my head that Primož is the most dangerous for me, which makes me happy, because we speak the same language.
“It’s much better to race against him than against anyone else.”
Enjoy your first month for only £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without subscription