Slovenian cycling Tadej Pogačar has had a historic year. In addition to the Tour de France, he also won two monuments.
The phenomenon of Tadejo Pogačar was discovered by sports fans all over the world, especially during last year’s Tour, which he dominated at the premiere as a 21-year-old. The Slovenian superstar defended his triumph this summer, but that’s not all.
Last Saturday, Tadej Pogačar won the last big race of the season, the monumental classic Il Lombardia. He attacked far before the goal and in the end defeated the home team Faust Masnad.
“It’s crazy to end the whole season this way. Victory is important to me, especially when I dreamed of starting in Lombardy for a long time. I’m here now and I won, “ Tadej Pogačar spoke at the finish line on Saturday.
He imitated the greatest legends
Tadej Pogačar has won a total of 14 wins this season, including overall achievements. According to the statistical portal ProCyclingStats, it has collected 3,214 points. Thanks to his last triumph, he took care of the dusting of historical chronicles.
Already in April, Tadej Pogačar mastered the monumental Belgian classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The last time the double Lombardia and Liège-Bastogne-Liège was succeeded in 1987 was by Moreno Argentin. In addition, the Slovenian is the first cyclist to win the Tour and Lombardy in one year since 1979, when Bernard Hinault succeeded in the same piece.
The significance of this year’s achievements is even greater when we look back at the tournament winners’ mensils and two monuments in one season: Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. Both are huge legends of cycling and a native of the Slovenian village of Komenda is registered next to them at such a young age.
He himself made it clear after the victorious Lombardy that he was not very interested in historical records and statistics.
“I just want to ride a bike, go to a race and put everything out there. It doesn’t matter if I rewrite history, I just want to have fun. I don’t think about what will happen. I’m just enjoying these moments. “
A rare and versatile rider
Apart from Grand Tours and the toughest weekly stage races, the biggest Tour champions from recent years did not win much. Chris Froome does not have a professional triumph in a one-day race, Egan Bernal only won in the smaller Italian classic Gran Piemonte.
A small exception is Brit Geraint Thomas. The winner of the “Old Lady” from 2018 was an excellent classicist in the first part of his career. In Paris – Roubaix was seventh, in Flanders eighth and won the important classic E3 Harelbeke also nicknamed Little Flanders. Once in the TOP 10 Paris – Roubaix and Bradley Wiggins.
But none of them controlled the monument in their lives. The last winner of the Tour, who has a triumph in Palmarès on one of the five greatest classics besides Tadejo Pogačar, is Vincenzo Nibali. The “Shark of Messina” has won Lombardy twice and has one winning notch from Milan-San Remo.
Pogačar’s compatriot Primož Roglič is still waiting for the winning Tour, but Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2020 and the hat-trick on Vuelte advise him just behind him.
This view also points to the equestrian genius of Tadejo Pogačar, for whom it is not a problem to successfully mix the most difficult one-day events and the Olympics with a focus on the overall triumph of the Tour de France. This takes us back to the times of Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and other Grand Tours winners, for whom no races were used as preparatory. Where they started, they wanted to win and leave a trail.
What next? Two Grand Tours in season and pavés
Tadej Pogačar signed a new contract until 2027 in the summer, thanks to which he became the highest paid cyclist and from the point of view of his employer UAE-Team Emirates it is an incredibly advantageous investment. He has the biggest diamond of cycling and there is no indication that Pogačar should slow down from the set pace.
Only health problems and the interplay of bad circumstances can mean that Pogačar will not be at the start of the Tour in Denmark next year as an advocate of the overall championship. Moreover, when he can book a winning hat-trick as the sixth cyclist in history.
It is highly probable that we will see Tadejo Pogachar in 2023 trying to win two Grand Tours in one year. It may be a little unbelievable that he only went to two winning Tour and Vuelta in 2019, when he finished third.
He has not started on the Italian Gire yet. With a rider of his type and character, it is difficult to imagine that he will only ride the Tour every year. Certainly, the idea of winning the remaining two three-week stages is tempting for him as well.
Tadej Pogačar can choose from the pair Giro – Vuelta or Tour – Vuelta. The most difficult double match Giro – Tour could be a total historical milestone in the case of a successful mission, but the Slovenian will probably keep it for later. Pogačar is already engraved in the chronicles of sports, but if he manages to win two Grand Tours in one year, the legend of his name will grow.
The Slovenian is technically and tactically very well equipped. With his desire to race and discover new races and challenges, it will only be a matter of time before we see him in the spring classics. Pogačar was supposed to go to Flanders last October, but he withdrew from the race at the last minute.
Last Saturday, Tadej Pogačar also received a question about his goals until 2022:
“My dream is to enjoy cycling to the fullest. When I lack enthusiasm, I will find new goals. ”
The biggest phenomenon of the current cycling scene has a lot to offer and we can already look forward to its gala performance in the next calendar year. We believe that he will enjoy cycling for many years to come. We have a hunch that we haven’t seen everything from his mastery yet.