After securing the Tirreno-Adriatico title today in the individual time trial, Tadej Pogačar confirmed that he will now take a short break from racing before coming back rested and repaired at Itzulia Basque Country in April.
The 2020 yellow jersey reflected on the astonishing start he has made to this season in an interview after today’s final stage in Tirreno.
“I’m a little bit fatigued from all the hard racing this week, but super-happy with my performance,” he told media.
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Remarking on his back-to-back GC wins in the UAE Tour and now Tirreno, Pogačar said.
'Fantastic start to the season' - Pogacar on taking Tirreno-Adriatico title
“It’s a fantastic start to the season but now I think I already need a little bit of rest to continue the next part.”
He went on to say: “After this I take some rest, then I go into the Basque country with fresh mind and we’ll see how my shape is there.”
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OUR VIEW - Pogacar in driving seat for Tour
Pogačar’s performance at Tirreno has shown once again that the Slovenian is in fearsome form, and with this second GC win in a row he has put himself fully in the driver’s seat as he heads for a defence of his Tour de France title.
With two race wins under his belt it’s fair to imagine that the pressure is off his shoulders to a certain extent, while his main rival for the maillot jaune this summer, compatriot Primoz Roglic, came agonisingly close to a Paris-Nice victory, before his hopes collapsed before his eyes.
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If we can speculate a little bit further about the mindsets of these two Slovenian superstars, one must surely be in better spirits than the other. How the events of the first two months of racing have affected them, we will discover at Itzulia Basque Country, which is scheduled to be the first time the pair has met since last year. A true clash of the Tour de France titans.
If there is any comfort for his rivals to take from this week’s racing it is Pogačar’s comments about fatigue, after what has been an intensive start to his year. WorldTour racing takes an enormous amount out of a body, and Pogačar is still just 22 – nobody knows the mid- or long-term effects that a programme like his in the past 12 months might have on a younger rider who, according to GCN’s super statistician, could still be winning the white jersey in 2024. So far this season he has raced 15 days, to Roglič’s eight.
Nevertheless, coming off these two wins, Pogačar must feel unbeatable. At the moment he certainly looks it.
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