Tadej Pogacar is on path to recover from the broken wrist he suffered at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but his run-up to the Tour de France isn't without it's changes from the initial plan. The UAE Team Emirates rider as good feedback on his expectations so far however.
“If you go for the overall victory like I do and you are not 100%, then I don't think you can enjoy it. But hopefully I will manage to be 100%," Pogacar said in a large press conference last afternoon. "Well, my wrist may not be completely back to normal then. Only you don't need your wrist to train your legs to 100%. I therefore have to wait and see how it goes in the Tour, but I suspect that I will enjoy it anyway.
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The Slovenian revealed in the conference that he will, despite the tight schedule, be racing before the Tour de France, that will come at the Slovenian national championships. He is currently training at altitude in Sierra Nevada but will make a recon of a few mountain stages of the Grand Boucle in the period inbetween. "I prefer to finish a race before an important race and that's why I do the time trial and the road race at the Slovenian championship. I'm not really worried."
“I would start training on the rollers and then hit the road for two or three hours of training. Of course I ride with a splint. I now have a few of them: one for normal life, one for cycling and one - when the recovery is almost over - that still gives a little support for the wrist," he explains, giving an update on his injury. "I am working on it every day and I also feel better every day, without pain. After Monday's scans, we'll know if I haven't damaged the bone again by starting too early. I don't think so, because I'm not in pain. When it does look better, I can start to put a little more pressure on my hand each time.”
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Work on his wrist is still ongoing, but he still has almost a month to build up form and improve his health. “Maybe during the Tour I also need a soft splint for a bit of support,” he admits. “I just hope that I get some mobility back, so that I can also break out of the saddle or practice my sprints before the Tour." So far, despite having returned to the road, his range of movement and efforts are still limited.
"I am looking forward to the first two stages in the Basque Country. Those are really beautiful rides, super tough," he comments on the Tour itself. "I prefer that to all kinds of flat stages in the first week. You immediately know who is good and who has the yellow jersey. Then it's not so stressful the days after. So it will be difficult for me to start the Tour fresh and immediately have to accelerate for two days. Two years ago we had a similar start, with two tough finals. Then I felt good and I like to hold on to that. This start of the Tour de France is one I love.”