“Adam Yates is my right-hand man, while Ayuso and Almeida will be like luxury domestiques" Tadej Pogacar confirms UAE Team Emirates Tour de France lineup

Whilst Tadej Pogacar was obliterating the field at the Giro d'Italia, arguably his three main rivals for the 2024 Tour de France were all recovering from a nasty crash at the Itzulia Basque Country. Ahead of the upcoming Tour, Pogacar has now confirmed what well expected. A blockbuster UAE Team Emirates lineup.

Although both Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel returned to racing this week at the Criterium du Dauphine, Pogacar's arch nemesis in the fight for the Maillot Jaune, Jonas Vingegaard remains out of action. Training hard at altitude, the Team Visma | Lease a Bike leader faces a race against time to be back for the Grand Depart of the Grand Tour in Florence. Pogacar though, seems certain his old rival will make it and attempt to claim a Tour de France hat trick.

“I think he will,” Pogacar says firmly when asked the question of Vingegaard's Tour de France involvement on the latest episode of the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast. "He was able to cycle again quite quickly after leaving the hospital. If he is comfortable on the bike again, I think he can start in good shape. He has to reach his race weight, but I don't think that is a problem. Evenepoel will fly. He will also be very motivated, just like Roglic. It looks like they will be more than one hundred percent ready for the Tour this year.”

With UAE Team Emirates boasting a superstar lineup however, Pogacar will undoubtedly start as pre-race favourite. “Adam Yates is my right-hand man, while Juan Ayuso and Joao Almeida will be like luxury domestiques in the mountains,” Pogacar said. “Marc Soler and Pavel Sivakov are the big men for the mountains, but can also do a lot on the flat. And then you have Tim Wellens and Nils Politt, the strong men. It actually scares me too!”

Given the supposed frailties of his rivals however, will Pogacar be on the attack from the off? “It's a tough start, but I haven't really thought about it yet. We were very aggressive in Bilbao last year, but we may have had a bit of a boomerang in return. The shape wasn't great then either. We have to think again about what we are going to do," he assesses. “The first day is 210 kilometers with four consecutive climbs, and on day two we have San Luca from the Giro dell'Emilia and then the Galibier on stage four. That's a nice ride. Do I want to take revenge there for the 2022 Tour? That would be nice, but the finish line is below. The final part of the Tour, the last three stages, is also very tough. It's brutal.”

“Evenepoel will mainly have to make an impact in the beginning,” Pogacar concludes. “But Roglic will first look at it and then fly in the last days. It's nice to finally see Remco in the Tour. When he became world champion, I thought: fuck , you have to do the Tour. But he didn't do it.”

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