"I said ‘No, it’s the Tour. You’re not coming home’” - Urska Zigart recalls convincing Tadej Pogacar not to abandon the 2023 Tour de France

Both very accomplished cyclists in their own right, Urska Zigart and Tadej Pogacar are one of the sport's real power couples.

Whilst Pogacar is the more successful of the pair, a two-time Tour de France winner and three-time Il Lombardia winner among many other things, Zigart is keen to develop her own career in the women's World Tour peloton and is using her partner's advice as fuel. “What he gives me, of course, is a lot of advice, because he has more experience and everything,” she tells Velo. “But I think at the end of the day, he just has this winner’s mentality that it’s really hard to just teach somebody. I’m working on it, but yeah, it’s a bit different. We’re in a bit of a different position.”

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Whilst Pogacar was competing at the Tour de France last summer, Zigart was racing her own Grand Tour at the Giro d'Italia Donne. On one nightmare day for the Slovenian pair however, Zigart crashed hard, leaving her with concussion as Pogacar lost considerable time to his arch-rival, Jonas Vingegaard.

“I remember I wanted to ask him how it was, but he didn’t talk about his race at all. It was just all about how I’m feeling and that he wishes he’d be there for me. Things like that,” Zigart recalls. “It was just about my crash, not about his performance."

There was even some talk at the time that Pogacar considered quitting the Tour de France to look after Zigart in her recovery. “I mean, the Tour was five days old. He’s not the type of a guy who would just give up at that point," she laughs. “It was more just him trying to comfort me. He thought that I would need more help at home, and stuff like this. Of course I said ‘No, it’s the Tour. You’ve been working so hard since the day after your crash to just be there and no, you’re not coming home.’”

“We both know how the other feels, what we have to go through. Obviously, with him it is a bit more about dealing with the pressure and things like that. Everybody thinks that once you make it to the top, it’s it gets easier, but it’s not true," Zigart concludes. “There are more demands, more things that come with that, and we try to both encourage each other. To just stay grounded and keep the joy of just riding the bike and the racing, and everything else that comes with that.”

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