Rather than aligning himself with the Tour of Switzerland or the Dauphiné, Tadej Pogacar has chosen, like last year, to compete in the Tour of Slovenia, quiet at home, to prepare for the Tour de France.

“I think that after what we showed on this Dauphiné, we deserve to be presented as the favorites of the Tour. » The sentence is signed Primoz Roglic, and it was pronounced by the leader of Jumbo-Visma after the demonstration of the Dutch formation, which achieved a double on the Dauphiné with victory for Roglic and second place, accompanied by success in the queen stage, for his lieutenant Jonas Vingegaard.

It is not known if the Slovenian expressed himself imprecisely or if he wanted to send a strong message. But just over two weeks from the start of the Grande Boucle at the start, the No. 1 favorite for the event still remains Tadej Pogacar. The outgoing double winner has shown practically no weakness this season, and here he is resuming competition this Wednesday at home, with the Tour of Slovenia, which will also pass through his home.

A ride home

“I was ‘off’ for two months, but I’m happy to be back competing in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, the UAE-Team Emirates rider told VeloNews. I’m sure I’ll get chills when I pass through Komenda. I will try, if I have time, to stop a bit and greet my family. »

So this is the context in which Pogacar is preparing his Tour de France, in a certain tranquility. Rather than rubbing shoulders with the Jumbo-Visma on the Dauphiné, or the Ineos-Grenadiers (Yates, Martinez, etc.) on the Tour de Suisse, the prodigy from Klanec opted for preparation at home, on his national tour, where his team had flown over the race last year (Pogacar 1st, Ulissi 2nd, Majka 4th, Polanc 9th), and where it is hard to see who could tickle it this year, apart from a few good climbers (Lucas Hamilton, Lorenzo Fortunato…) .

Not the same strategy as Roglic

Pogacar followed the same path as last year, by winning the UAE Tourvery dear to the sponsor of his team, then Tirreno-Adriatico. He then competed in a few spring classics, but this time skipped the Tour of the Basque Country to try his hand at the cobblestones of Flanders. in view of the Arenberg stage of the Tour de France. Last year, Roglic had also opted for a long break before the Tour, but he changed his mind this year, adding the Dauphiné to his program to find “the stress of the race, probably thinking back to this fall from the first week of the Grande Boucle in 2021, which had ruined all his chances.

Pogacar has further reduced his number of racing days (it will be 24 before the Tour), but he is confident in his choice of preparation. “The Tour of Slovenia lasts five days. I don’t need seven or nine days of racing before the Tour. I was focused on my training before my national tour, to have fun and be relaxed before the Tour. But it is certain that in the future the Dauphiné or Switzerland will return to my calendar. »

“The Tour is another story”

Always so relaxed, on and off the bike, Pogacar followed the performance of his rivals by taking a step back. “The Jumbos showed they were very strong, Jonas and Primoz were very strong on the climbs, he analyzes. It’s kind of a message, but I’m not surprised, it’s what I expected. I think they will also watch the Tour of Slovenia. But the Tour de France is another story. » And since 2020, it’s his kingdom.

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