Stephen Roche on Tadej Pogacar's Giro d'Italia: "It’s not his fault that he is currently so far ahead"

Tadej Pogacar has won the Giro d'Italia with a dominant performance, and this opens up the way for other possible big achievements for later in the year. One of them being winning the Giro and Tour de France on the same season. Stephen Roche, one of those who has achieved this, analyses the past and following month.

“Pogacar is very good. It’s not his fault that he is currently so far ahead. There simply wasn’t enough competition for him in the Giro," Roche said to Cyclism'Actu. "What speaks in his favour is that he didn’t have to tap into his reserves for the Tour de France. Even though he has achieved some great performances. He came out of the Giro with a victory and in a good mood. All indicators are green for a repeat in the Tour.”

Roche holds a record dating back to 1987, when he won the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and World Championships. This hasn't happened since, but the chance does exist for Pogacar to do this in 2024.

“Not because there were no riders to do it, but because the conditions weren’t right. Miguel Indurain, Lance Armstrong, Marco Pantani or Chris Froome could have done it," the former Irish pro continues. Regarding the Tour, he certainly seems to be the main favourite currently. But the World Championships, taking place in a hilly Zurich course this year, will likely also see the Slovenian as a big favourite to take the rainbow jersey.

"If you arrive at the World Championships on a flat course, you have a handicap. But Pogacar is one of the best riders of all time. He climbs well, he descends like the best, he can ride fast and sprint. He can do it all," Roche says. "And luckily he dares to combine the two [grand] tours. Many riders are afraid of that. Not only physically, but also because the sponsors are desperate to win the Tour de France.”

“I don’t think he will be too tired at the start of the Tour. His competitors, such as Jonas Vingegaard, lack competitive rhythm. But a lot can happen. We will only know more at the first time trial or the first mountain stage. If I were Pogacar, I would try to create as big a gap as possible in the first week, because the others will probably be even stronger in the last week.”

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