Tadej Pogacar had the unfortunate luck of finishing second at the Tour de France two years in a row. In both he suffered from one bad day which saw him lose a lot of time to Jonas Vingegaard, however he believes that his focus and crash in the spring classics cost him the legs he needed in France.
“Maybe the fact that I had to prepare for the Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes classics this year cost me the Tour. It's not an ideal combination, but I love racing and taking on new challenges," Pogacar said in an interview with FloBikes. "I would find it difficult to only focus on the month of July, while I know that I can also perform well in the first and last part of the season.”
Tadej Pogacar's DS on Tour de France: "He just loves this race, and as long as it stays that way, Tadej will probably be racing in the Tour"
Pogacar is a rider that displays tremendous passion for cycling and has over the past few years changed his calendar often to look for new races and goals - often succeeding. His meteoric rise in the cobbled classics, culminating at the Tour of Flanders this year, saw him grow as a leading figure for the classics as well as the Grand Tours. His incredibly versatility and talent also sees him able to fight for wins all year round all over the world.
However at Liège-Bastogne-Liège he took a rare but hard crash and suffered a wrist fracture. This kept him off the road for several weeks, whilst Vingegaard prepared for the Tour de France in what looked to be ideal conditions. “That certainly didn't help. If you have to train on rollers for six weeks, you are not ready for three weeks of climbing and sprinting. You already have to do a lot in the two months after Liège and then there was that wrist injury. It was just too much. I didn't have the necessary foundation.”
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Whilst the two looked almost evenly matched throughout the first two weeks of the Tour, in the third Vingegaard kicked it up a notch that no-one could match, first dealing a huge blow in the individual time-trial, but then Pogacar completely cracked at the Col de la Loze. He recovered to still finish on the World Championships and win Il Lombardia, but he seeks to evolve further.
“That is what I feel, but it is also reflected in my values. For example, I now have more experience, but I can always learn more. My body can still improve a lot in the coming years, although this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve," he admits. "Now it's all in the details and work ethic.”