6 fun facts about Tadej Pogacar - Not only is he good at cycling, but he is also a unicycle specialist

Tadej Pogacar is one of the most talented and unique riders in the history of pro cycling and at only 25 years of age, he has already achieved more than 99% cyclists and continues to add to his palmarès, whilst also being one of the most charismatic and loved riders in the entire peloton.

This is his debut in the Giro, but he will most likely be adding it to his vast palmarès which already includes victories at the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Il Lombardia, Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya and many more.

Tadej Pogacar during the 2024 Giro d'Italia. @Sirotti
Tadej Pogacar during the 2024 Giro d'Italia. @Sirotti

Here are 6 facts about the wolverine that you may not have known.

1. Pogacar has never actually won a big stage-race ahead of a Grand Tour. That is the case currently with the Giro, where he only raced Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the weeks running up to it; but it has also been the case in previous years. In 2023 he only raced the national championships, in 2022 and 2021 he raced the Tour of Slovenian whilst in 2020 he didn't succeed in winning the Criterium du Dauphiné. At the 2019 Vuelta a España he also went in without a stage-race as preparation.

2. He has one Olympic medal - at least so far - on his record: bronze in the road race in Tokyo. The Slovenian confessed at the time to regret the way he rode at the Olympics, but not the result. At the time, the Tour de France winner was overjoyed with his medal in the road race, even if it was bronze instead of gold. "It's something I can't describe. I'm super happy - super super happy," he said then in a press conference. His words echoed those of a few minutes earlier for Slovenian television: "I can't describe the emotion that fills me. I am speechless."

3. Pogacar is not only a tremendous rider but he is actually also capable of riding a unicycle. Anything that has wheels, most likely, is something he is talented at.

4. His first professional victory in 2019, after joining UAE Team Emirates, was at the Portuguese Volta ao Algarve stage 2 atop Alto da Fóia. That was a surprise if his "scout" Allan Peiper is to be believed. "He came to Algarve because one of the other riders wasn't ready," Peiper said. "He was in Australia for the Tour Down Under and we had given him a break after that because the change in time and the cold weather can take its toll on some riders when they come back. "We hadn't planned to put him back in until early March, but he looked good in training and the performance team said he had recovered from Australia, so we decided to put him in here."

5. Pogacar has a contract with UAE Team Emirates until 2027 but he does not actually have the longest contract with the team. Juan Ayuso and Jan Christen are already signed until 2028 whilst Mexican supertalent Isaac Del Toro is already inked with the team all the way into 2029.

Isaac Del Toro during the 2024 Tirreno-Adriatico. @Sirotti
Isaac Del Toro during the 2024 Tirreno-Adriatico. @Sirotti

6. As a little boy, his hero was Alberto Contador and while cycling he sometimes pretended to be the Spaniard. Conversely, the same would be true. Asked about a cyclist who would be Contador's idol if he were a child now, Alberto does not hesitate: "Pogacar. My idol would be Tadej Pogacar. What an incredible rider. He is unique. He can win any race he participates in, whether it's a Classic, Grand Tour or modest race. There is no other rider in the world who can do that."

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