"This is without doubt the best team Tadej has ever had at the Tour" - Pogacar surrounded by quality at Tour de France says Joxean Matxin

Ahead of the 2024 Tour de France, arguably the greatest advantage Tadej Pogacar can call upon is the immense strength of the UAE Team Emirates team surrounding him.

In Adam Yates, Joao Almeida and Juan Ayuso, Pogacar has three recent Grand Tour podium finishers to call super domestiques when in the mountains, with the talented duo of Pavel Sivakov and Marc Soler offering further climbing support. To top it all off, on the flat, UAE Team Emirates have two of the best one-day riders in the peloton to help control things and keep Pogacar at the front in Nils Politt and Tim Wellens.

"This team didn't just get there overnight either. We worked on it for years," UAE Team Emirates boss Joxean Matxin tells Het Nieuwsblad, immensely proud of what he has assembled in support of his team leading Slovenian. "Every year we made the puzzle fit together a bit better. With Almeida and Ayuso now included, this is without doubt the best team Tadej has ever had at the Tour."

Last year, Tim Wellens was supposed to join Pogacar at the Tour de France before being sadly ruled out after a crash. "I just hope he's not too badly affected by his crash last week in the Dauphiné. But his form is by all means good," Matxin says of the Belgian. "What can't Tim do? Tim is one of the most underrated riders in the peloton. He is so complete. You can use him anywhere, in any stage and at any time. Both on the flat and in the trickier stages. Not only is he physically strong, he also sees things well tactically. A very important rider for Tadej."

Adam Yates meanwhile, will be Pogacar's right hand man once again after joining his leader on the podium of the Tour de France in 2023. If the Brit's performances in the Tour de Suisse are anything to go by, he is in good form too. "After his crash in the UAE Tour, he had to recover from concussion for a long time. But I know Adam. Up and coming professional. He is okay again and - holding wood - clearly in top form. As is Almeida. Two weeks before the Tour, they are where we expected them to be. Good," Matxin concludes.

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