Cycling ace Pogačar to skip Vuelta a Espana

ALTO DA FÓIA, PORTUGAL - FEBRUARY 21: Arrival / Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and Team UAE - Team Emirates / Celebration / during the 45th Volta ao Algarve, Stage 2 a 187,4 km stage from Almodôvar to Alto Da Fóia 900m / VA / @VAlgarve2019 / on February 21, 2019 in Alto Da Fóia, Portugal. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Ljubljana – Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar, two-time Tour de France winner, will not race the 2022 Vuelta a Espana as he intends to focus on the coming World Championships and one-day races.

Pogačar was initially expected to compete in the Spanish Grand Tour, but his team, UAE Emirates, confirmed on Tuesday that he had opted out of the race.

The 23-year-old finished second at this year’s Tour de France, which wrapped up on Sunday, conceding defeat to Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Approaching the end of the season, his schedule features one-day classics and the 2022 UCI Road World Championships, which will be held from 18 to 25 September in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

Already this weekend, he will race the Clasica San Sebastian in Spain. “He will then take a break to prepare for several one-day races, the first in Plouay, then another highlight with the World Championships in Australia, and finally the Tour of Lombardy, which he won in 2021,” his team said.

It is not yet clear whether another Slovenian cycling star, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), will be able to defend his Vuelta title. His team recently said that the three-time Vuelta champion continues to recover from injuries that made him quit the Tour de France before stage 15.

The three-week Vuelta will start in mid-August and will take riders through the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.