Tadej Pogacar has 'conflicting emotions' of pipping Primoz Roglic to Tour de France win
Tadej Pogacar says that his childhood adulation of Primoz Roglic and the strong level of support for the Jumbo-Visma rider in their native Slovenia made his incredible victory in the Tour de France in September a bittersweet memory for him. The 21-year-old also gave his views about doping in cycling.
Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo - Visma / Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia and UAE Team Emirates Yellow Leader Jersey / during the 107th Tour de France 2020, Stage 21 a 122km stage from Mantes-La-Jolie to Paris Champs-Élysées
"At the time, I didn’t really know what to feel. Everything was tangled up in my chest, I had conflicting emotions," Pogacar told L’Equipe.
"I had been a Roglic fan since his first results. Between the ages of 15 and 20, I was shouting in front of my television for him to win, and now I was the one who had beaten him, who had denied him from achieving what he had been dreaming of for years…
"It was really strange. I kept telling myself: 'That’s racing, that’s sport, it’s normal that I want to win'.
"In fact, it was Primoz who managed to calm me. A few minutes after he finished, I was in the television tent and he came to find me and give me a hug.
"I’ll never forget that moment… It’s as though he was giving me permission to enjoy it and telling me it wasn’t my fault."
Classy gesture as Roglic congratulates Pogacar with embrace
Part of Pogacar's bittersweet memories may stem from a belief that in Slovenia, the watching public would have preferred a Roglic win.
"They were a bit like me, they would have preferred Primoz to win," he said.
"I realised it, I saw it on social media, they told me. But what can I do about it? Nothing."
Pogacar also voiced his opinion that the amount of doping in cycling had decreased drastically, saying that ESPN's recent Lance Armstrong documentary had been eye-opening for him.
"Yes, when I was young everybody talked a lot about that. At the club, every year, we had to sign a charter saying that we’d never dope. I signed that for a decade.
"Last June, I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on Lance Armstrong. I discovered just where all that could take somebody. Today, I have the feeling that doping has been reduced a lot in cycling."