“This year I made another step” - Tadej Pogacar warns there is still room for improvement as he takes first Grand Tour win in 3 years

Although Tadej Pogacar has long been regarded as probably the most complete and well-rounded rider of this generation, it was coming up to nearly three years since his last Grand Tour win. That was at least, before his three-week domination at the 2024 Giro d'Italia.

“This year I made another step,” admitted the UAE Team Emirates leader after taking a sensational sixth stage win at this race on Saturday afternoon. “Every year it's harder to improve, but I can be super happy and lucky that I can still find some improvements through the winter. I'm super happy that I made a small gain. I'm still growing up, getting older, and everything is just settling in, because experience comes into play as well. I'm super happy that I see this improvement also this year.”

With his final winning margin falling just short of the 10-minute mark, Pogacar has been a head and shoulders above the rest of the field over the past three weeks. Despite this however, the Slovenian insists it hasn't been all plain sailing. “Not everything is easy in Grand Tours, nothing is easy. It's been a hard three weeks. [I had] also some sickness or allergies, I don't know, but I'm thinking more sickness, a few days after Napoli when it didn't go away, or even in the rain. It was not all smooth sailing, but we made it to here with a good margin to second place, so we can be proud and happy with how it went," he explains

Although it didn't look like it, Pogacar also insists he put into difficulty by his rivals on the road. “For sure I was uncomfortable many times,” he said. “It's three weeks of racing, then you have a lot of moments when you are uncomfortable on the bike, off the bike also, having trouble to sleep and stuff like this. It's racing for three weeks.”

Despite his modesty though, the facts speak for themselves. Six stage wins, a near 10-minute margin to second-placed Daniel Martinez and a lengthy reign in Pink ever since his victory on stage 2. “I must say that it was one of the best Grand Tours I ever did in my career," Pogacar says. "I felt amazing with my legs throughout all three weeks, so I keep this mentality for the next races.”

“I would say no regrets at all,” he concludes. “I think we did execute this Giro really good. A 10-minute winning margin is not something you go for. It [wouldn't be] set in stone in your career or anything, it's not important at all. Even if you win with one second it's still a victory, so it doesn't matter. In this Giro it just happened to be that way, but it was never easy moments. Also chapeau to second and third place and everybody else that was fighting everyday and stayed until Rome.”

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