The Slovenia Times

Pogačar to race the Giro, Tour and worlds next year

Longwy, France
Slovenia's rider Tadej Pogačar after winning stage 6 at the Tour de France yesterday, and repeating the feat today.
Photo: dpa/STA

Slovenian star rider Tadej Pogačar will compete in the Giro d'Italia for the first time next year before racing the Tour de France again and going for the rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships.

The 25-year-old who tops the world ranking of UCI, cycling's governing body, set out his plans for the next season for Slovenian reporters at the press event of his UAE Team Emirates in La Nucia, Spain on 18 December, a day after Giro organisers announced his appearance at the Italian Grand Tour.

Since the start of his professional career Pogačar has focused on the Tour, which he won in 2020 and 2021 before finishing second to Jonas Vinegaaard in the last two years. This will be the first time that he competes in two of the three major European professional cycling three-week races in the same season.

"I've always wanted to ride the Giro, ever since Luka Mezgec won a stage in Trieste (in 2014). In recent years, unfortunately or fortunately, the Tour has always been the priority, because we always went there for a win. Finally, time has come for two three-week races, not to repeat the same thing every year and to make some changes," Pogačar said.

Many cycling experts believe that the Giro, scheduled to take place between 4 and 26 May, is not compatible with the Tour, which starts a month after the end of the Giro. The last person to win both top road cycling races in the world in a single year was Marco Pantani in 1998.

Rather than considering the prospect of a double Grand Tour victory, Pogačar is more interested in the battle of four cycling stars at the Tour de France. Apart from him, the race is expected to feature the two-time Danish champion Vingegaard, Pogačar's compatriot Primož Roglič and Belgian Remco Evenepoel.

"If the rumours are true, and if there are no accidents, with Remco, Primož, Jonas, myself and many others peeking in, this will be one of the Tours that will go down in history," he said.

Tadej Pogačar and his team UAE present plans for 2024 in Spain. Photo: Aljoša Žvirc/STA

Roglič, who won the Giro last year, will not be in Turin for the start of the 107th edition the race, having announced he will be going for the yellow jersey this time with his new German team Bora-Hansgrohe.

The two Grand Tours are not the only priorities for Pogačar on the calendar of the upcoming season. He took reporters by surprise when he announced that his main goal next year could be the UCI Road World Championships in Zurich in September where the course will suit him and the rest of team Slovenia.

"The Slovenian team can prepare well. It depends on who goes, but I think we'll all be there, because the course is perfect for us. Of course, that doesn't mean a medal is a given, especially a gold medal. But we must expect that we can do well and aim for the top spots," said Pogačar, who won bronze at the Glasgow World Championship this year.

After the worlds, he will go for the fourth straight win at Il Lombardia, which would make him the first rider ever to bring off such a feat.

He will start off the season in Italy on 2 March at the Strade Bianche, a one-day race in Tuscany that he won in 2022, before appearing in the spring classic Milan-San Remo and for the first time at the Volta a Catalunya, the seven-day race of Catalonia that Roglič won this year.

Pogačar also plans to race Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the oldest of the five Monuments, but will probably not make it to the Tour of Slovenia in mid-June. "This will be a tough one, but we'll see. Maybe, but that's not on the cards at the moment," he said about the chance of him racing in Slovenia.


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