Tadej Pogacar: “Being at the top in two ‘majors’ in one year is very difficult, in all three, impossible”


The Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) is clear that his goal in 2023 will once again be the Tour de France and that he will not do any other ‘big’ because he believes that “it is very difficult to be at the top” in two races of this type and he would see it “a waste of time”, while he warns that one of his ambitions is to be world champion.

“Being at the top in the same year in two Grand Tours is very difficult, in all three it’s impossible, it would be a waste of time for me. I want to do the Giro d’Italia, but I don’t think about it too much at the moment, I’ll do it later, but not much either because my seasons are long and you can’t stand it when you’re one hundred percent all the time,” Pogacar pointed out in an interview published this Thursday by the newspaper ‘L’Equipe’.

The double Tour winner confesses that he “quickly” accepted having been defeated by the Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) in the last edition of the French round and that his 2022 was “fantastic”. “I won almost everything I wanted (UAE Tour, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, three stages of the Tour, Montreal GP and the Giro di Lombardia), while in terms of intensity it was probably the toughest season I’ve ever had to do from afar,” he said.

“After the Tour, I recovered well and looked to the future. In a way, this second place is like a victory for me, I learned a lot from this summer and it motivated me a lot. I felt more affection from the public than after my two victories in the Tour”, added Pogacar.

The 24-year-old cyclist lives in an era where he rivals other runners such as the Dutch Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), the Belgians Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step-Alpha Vynil) or the aforementioned Vingegaard.

“Cycling is not tennis, there are too many great races and four cyclists are not enough to share all the great titles. There are not four boys above and the rest below”, Pogacar clarified questioned about a possible similarity with the ‘Big 4’ of the tennis with Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

In this sense, the one from Klanec recognizes that in his childhood he did not really have an idol. “I saw Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, and their Tour duel was super fun, but I didn’t see that many races on TV. I didn’t really have heroes in my youth,” he stressed.

Looking to the future, the UAE cyclist admits he would like to wear the world champion’s rainbow jersey, although he may be “cursed”. “Being world champion is the best, it’s the same as a Tour win and even above Olympic gold. I want to win it in the next five years because then I’ll be too old,” he said with a smile.

Finally, Pogacar emphasizes that, despite his possible seriousness on the road, he feels “the tension like everyone else” and a “shot of adrenaline before each big port”, but that he tries to take things “calmly”.

“I don’t follow any specific mental preparation, I don’t see any psychologist, it’s my nature and I’m happy about it. I love my sport and I try to retain the good, even on bad days”, concluded the Slovenian who hopes to be remembered when he retires. as “a cyclist who never gave up and always fought for victory”.