Tadej Pogačar (Slovene pronunciation: [taˈdɛ́ːj pɔˈɡáːtʃaɾ] ;[7] born 21 September 1998) is a Slovenian professional cyclist who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam UAE Team Emirates.[8] He won the 2020 and 2021 editions of the Tour de France, winning three different jerseys during each Tour, a feat unseen in nearly four decades. He won the 2024 edition of the Giro d'Italia, winning also the mountains classification and six stages. Comfortable in time-trialing, one-day classic riding and grand-tour climbing, he has been compared to legendary all-round cyclists such as Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

Tadej Pogačar
Tadej Pogačar in 2022
(current UCI world No.1 with record 150 weeks on top)
Personal information
Full nameTadej Pogačar
NicknamePog[1]
Pogi[2]
PoGo[3]
Born (1998-09-21) 21 September 1998 (age 25)
Komenda, Slovenia
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)[4]
Weight66 kg (146 lb; 10 st 6 lb)[4]
Team information
Current teamUAE Team Emirates
DisciplineRoad
RoleRider
Rider typeAll-rounder
Professional teams
2017–2018Rog–Ljubljana
2019–UAE Team Emirates[5][6]
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
General classification (2020, 2021)
Mountains classification (2020, 2021)
Young rider classification (2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
11 individual stages (20202023)
Giro d'Italia
General classification (2024)
Mountains classification (2024)
6 individual stages (2024)
Vuelta a España
Young rider classification (2019)
3 individual stages (2019)

Stage races

Tirreno–Adriatico (2021, 2022)
Paris–Nice (2023)
Volta a Catalunya (2024)
Tour of California (2019)
UAE Tour (2021, 2022)
Tour of Slovenia (2021, 2022)
Volta ao Algarve (2019)
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2020)
Vuelta a Andalucía (2023)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2023)
National Time Trial Championships
(2019, 2020, 2023)
Giro di Lombardia (2021, 2022, 2023)
Liège–Bastogne–Liège (2021, 2024)
Tour of Flanders (2023)
Amstel Gold Race (2023)
La Flèche Wallonne (2023)
Strade Bianche (2022, 2024)
GP de Montréal (2022)
Tre Valli Varesine (2022)

Other

UCI World Ranking (2021, 2022, 2023)
Vélo d'Or (2021)
Medal record
Men's road bicycle racing
Representing  Slovenia
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 2020 Tokyo Road race
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2023 Glasgow Road race

In 2019, he became the youngest cyclist to win a UCI World Tour race with the Tour of California win at the age of 20.[9] Later in the year, in his debut Grand Tour, Pogačar won three stages of the Vuelta a España en route to an overall third-place finish and the young rider title.[10][11] In both his Tour de France debut and the following year, he won three stages and the race overall, as well as the mountains and young-rider classifications, becoming the only rider to win these three classifications simultaneously.[12][13] He is the first Slovenian winner, and, at the age of 21, the second-youngest winner after Henri Cornet, who won in 1904 at the age of 19.[14][15] He is the first road cyclist in history to break the 6,000-point barrier in UCI World Ranking.[16] He is a three time National Time Trial champion (2019, 2020, 2023).

He is the only rider who has won the white jersey at the Tour de France 4 times overall and a record 75 days in total.

He has won three different one-day Monuments six times (Tour of Flanders once, Liège–Bastogne–Liège twice and Giro di Lombardia three times), Paris-Nice once and Tirreno–Adriatico on two occasions.

In 2021, he became the first Tour de France winner to take an Olympic medal in the road race in the same year after he took bronze at the men's road race.[17]

He is the current men's UCI road racing world No.1. He has been No.1 for a record total number of weeks and record number of consecutive weeks. He finished the 2021, 2022 and 2023 seasons as world No.1.

Career edit

Early career edit

Pogačar followed his older brother Tilen in joining the Rog Ljubljana club at the age of nine.[18] In 2011 he came to the attention of Road World Championship medallist Andrej Hauptman, who is as of 2021 his coach and head coach and selector for the Slovenian national cycling team. Hauptman watched Pogačar pursuing a group of much older teenagers from 100 metres behind. Thinking that Pogačar was struggling to keep up with the older riders, he told the race organisers that they should provide some assistance to Pogačar: the organisers explained that the younger rider was in fact about to lap the group he was chasing.[19][20] Hauptman subsequently managed Pogačar as an under-23 rider with the Rog–Ljubljana team, before joining UAE Team Emirates as a directeur sportif in May 2019, after Pogačar joined the team.[18]

UAE Team Emirates (2019–present) edit

2019 edit

 
2019 Tour of California

Pogačar joined UAE Team Emirates from the 2019 season, a deal that was made ahead of the 2018 Tour de l'Avenir, which he won. He made his debut for the team at the Tour Down Under, where he finished 13th overall. He went on to win the Volta ao Algarve, taking the race lead after winning the second stage.[21] He also placed sixth at the Tour of the Basque Country.[18] In May 2019, he won the Tour of California, becoming the youngest rider to win a UCI WorldTour stage race.[19] He took the race lead after winning the queen stage to Mount Baldy on stage 6.[22] In June, Pogačar won the Slovenian national time trial championship after beating Matej Mohorič by 29 seconds.[23]

In August, Pogačar was named in the team's start list for the Vuelta a España, his debut in a Grand Tour.[24] In the first week, he performed strongly, placing himself in the top ten on GC (General Classification) before winning his first Grand Tour stage on the rain-soaked stage to Cortals d'Encamp.[25] The win allowed him to move inside the top five on GC. On stage 13, which finished on the steep climb of Los Machucos, he was the only rider to stay with the race leader and his compatriot, Primož Roglič. Pogačar ended up winning his second stage to move up to third overall,[26] where he stayed heading into the second rest day. After losing time on stage 18, he dropped down to fifth on GC.[27] On the penultimate stage, with one last chance to move up the standings, Pogačar launched an attack, going on an almost 40-kilometre (25 mi) solo breakaway. He eventually took his third stage win, winning by more than a minute and a half over the rest of the contenders. The win allowed him to finish the Vuelta in third overall, the final podium position, and giving him the victory in the young rider classification.[28][29]

2020 edit

 
In 2020, Pogačar won the Slovenian National Time Trial Championships for the second year in succession.

Before the season started, Pogačar announced that he was making his debut at the Tour de France, where he planned on riding in support of Fabio Aru.[30] He made his season debut at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he won two stages on his way to winning the race.[31] At the curtailed UAE Tour, he won the fifth stage, which finished atop the Jebel Hafeet,[32] and finishing second to Adam Yates on GC. In March, cycling events were among those postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When the season resumed, he took fourth overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the Slovenian national championships, he finished second to Primož Roglič in the road race[33] before defeating him in the time trial, defending his title.[34]

In the Tour de France, Pogačar quickly demonstrated that he was in better form than Aru, his team's initial leader, after finishing second to Roglič on stage four, which finished atop the climb of Orcières-Merlette.[35] However, he lost almost a minute and a half on stage 7, which was affected by crosswinds.[36] The next day, he began to claw back time when he attacked on the Col de Peyresourde, gaining back 38 seconds over the rest of the contenders.[37] After Aru withdrew on stage 9, Pogacar won the stage to Laruns, his first Tour stage win, by outsprinting Egan Bernal and Roglič, who took the maillot jaune, as well as Marc Hirschi, who had been on an 80-kilometre (50 mi) solo breakaway.[38] On stage 13, which finished atop the steep climb of Puy Mary, he was the only rider to stay with Roglič and moving up to second overall at 44 seconds down.[39] He also took the lead in the young rider classification in the process. Two days later, he outsprinted Roglič at the top of the Col du Grand Colombier to take his second stage of the race.[40]

 
Pogačar during the decisive stage 20 time trial at the 2020 Tour de France

At the beginning of the third week, Pogačar sat in second overall at 40 seconds behind Roglič. On stage 17, the queen stage, which finished atop the Col de la Loze, he struggled to follow Roglič, eventually losing 17 seconds.[41] Ahead of the penultimate stage, a 36.2-kilometre (22.5 mi) time trial finishing at La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogačar faced a 57 second deficit to Roglič. At the first time check, he had already managed to claw back 13 seconds from his compatriot. He headed into the final climb with a lead of 36 seconds and a deficit of 21 seconds on the virtual GC. Pogačar gradually gained time on the climb before going into the virtual maillot jaune with 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) left. He eventually took the stage victory, his third of the race, almost a minute and a half ahead of Tom Dumoulin while Roglič finished almost two minutes down. The result meant he took the maillot jaune with a lead of 59 seconds on Roglič and the lead in the mountain classification.[42][43] The next day, he finished safely in the peloton to officially win the Tour, becoming the first Slovenian winner of the race.[44] At the age of 21, he also became the second youngest winner of the Tour, just behind Henri Cornet, who won the Tour in 1904 at the age of 19. In addition to winning the Tour, he also won the young rider classification as well as the mountains classification.[45] The previous rider to win three jerseys was Eddy Merckx in 1972. He became the twelfth rider to win the Tour de France on his first attempt, and the first since 1983.[15]

After the Tour, Pogačar competed in the men's road race at the World Championships, where he supported Roglič, who eventually finished in sixth place.[46] Three days later, he competed at La Flèche Wallonne where he finished in ninth place. He ended his season at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, where he originally finished in fourth place before moving up to third following Julian Alaphilippe's relegation.[47]

2021 edit

 
Pogacar on the podium after winning the 2021 Liège–Bastogne–Liège

He started the 2021 season by winning the UAE Tour, Tirreno–Adriatico, Liège–Bastogne–Liège – his first win in a monument[18] and the Tour of Slovenia.

He began the 2021 Tour de France as one of the pre-race favorites along with Primož Roglič, Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz. On stage one he finished with the group of favorites eight seconds behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe and took the lead in the white jersey classification. Pogačar won the fifth stage, the race's first time trial, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Stefan Küng and taking significant time out of his GC rivals.[48] On stage eight he launched an attack, from more than six minutes behind the breakaway, taking over the yellow jersey with a lead of over four and a half minutes on those considered to be contenders for the overall victory.[49] Pogačar extended his GC lead on the ninth stage to Tignes, responding to an attack by Carapaz on the final climb 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the finish and dropping his rivals in the main group, emerging with an overall lead of over two minutes over second placed Ben O'Connor, who had moved up the order after winning the stage from the breakaway.[50]

 
Pogačar wearing the race leader's yellow jersey during stage 14 of the 2021 Tour de France

Following stage eleven, which included a double ascent of Mont Ventoux, the closest rivals to Pogačar included Rigoberto Urán, Jonas Vingegaard and Carapaz, but all them remained more than five minutes behind. Pogačar had temporarily lost some time to Vingegaard on the final ascent of Ventoux before catching him on the descent to the finish alongside Carapaz and Uran.[51] Pogačar extended his lead further with wins on stages 17 (to the Col de Portet)[52] and 18 (in Luz Ardiden), by which point he had a lead of 5' 45" over Vingegaard and an unassailable lead in the polka dot jersey classification.[53] On the penultimate 20th stage, a time trial between Libourne and Saint-Émilion, Pogačar conceded half a minute to Vingegaard but retained a lead of over five minutes going into the final stage to Champs-Élysées in Paris.[54]

Pogačar's win made him the youngest cyclist to win consecutive Tours. This was also the second year in a row that he won three distinctive jerseys. Both during and at the end of the Tour there were accusations of doping on social media and in the press due to the dominance Pogačar displayed.[55] When asked about it he answered, "For sure I am not angry about it. They are uncomfortable questions because the [cycling] history was really bad. I totally understand why there are all of these questions."[56]

Jonathan Vaughters, the Directeur Sportif of one of the teams who had a GC rider competing against Pogačar, Team EF Education–Nippo, offered an explanation for how Pogačar was able to be so successful on stage eight. He explained that the twin factors of uncharacteristic weather conditions and chaotic, uncontrolled racing dynamics played a part.[57] In addition to this in previous years there was usually a dominant team who would contain the attacks of any riders considered a threat for victory, whether it was Team Ineos, Team Jumbo-Visma or Movistar Team. During the 2021 Tour teams Ineos and Jumbo had both suffered from the first week crashes and Movistar was not as strong as they had been in years past. As such by the time Pogačar launched his attack late in the stage, there were no teams remaining who were strong enough to keep him in check. Vaughters also stated, "Simply put, the race was so aggressive all day long, along with really the race as a whole on the flats, that basically by the time the peloton was taking in the climbs, they were cooked. This was further exacerbated by the wet conditions."[57]

After the Tour de France, Pogačar won the bronze medal in the men's road race at the Olympic Games after finishing behind Wout van Aert in the sprint for the silver medal.[58] At the end of July, UAE Team Emirates announced that they had agreed a one-year extension to his contract, committing him to the team up to the end of 2027.[59] Pogačar took a break from racing following the Olympics, returning to competition at the Bretagne Classic Ouest–France at the end of August,[60] where he initially managed to follow an attack by Alaphilippe on a gravelled climb 60 km from the finish along with Mikkel Frølich Honoré and Benoît Cosnefroy, but was dropped by the other escapees who went on to take the podium places.[61]

In September he competed at the European Road Championships in Trentino: in the road race, after a number of breakaways had emerged and been caught by the peloton, he was able to follow an attack by Matteo Trentin to form part of a lead group which expanded to include ten riders, however he was unable to keep pace with a further attack from this group 23 km from the end of the race, with a three-man selection of Remco Evenepoel, Sonny Colbrelli and Cosnefroy dropping their rivals and securing themselves the medals.[62] At the Road World Championships in Flanders later that month, Pogačar finished 37th in the road race.[63] He then moved on to Italy in October to compete in the autumn classics held there: although he failed to finish the Giro dell'Emilia, he made an impression at Tre Valli Varesine, animating the race with a long-race attack from 120 km: although he lost contact with the head of the race due to a puncture he won the sprint in the chase group to finish third.[63] At Milano–Torino, Pogačar managed to keep pace with the other favourites for most of the day, emerging from the peloton's fragmentation in crosswinds 65 km from the end as part of a front group which absorbed the day's early breakaway, and remaining in contention for the win until losing contact with Adam Yates and Roglič in the closing kilometres of the final climb up Superga: he subsequently lost the two-up sprint for third place to João Almeida.[64]

A few days later, Pogačar won his second monument at Il Lombardia, responding to an attack by Vincenzo Nibali by dropping the Italian and the rest of the lead group 30 km from the finish: although he was subsequently joined at the front of the race by Fausto Masnada, Pogačar won the resulting two-man sprint at the finish line. He became the third rider after Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx to win two monuments and the Tour in the same year[65] and just fourth rider to win the Tour de France and the Tour of Lombardy in the same season, after Coppi, Merckx and Bernard Hinault, and the first to do so in 42 years.[66]

As the 2021 offseason began the director of the Giro d'Italia, Mauro Vegni, challenged Pogačar to complete the Giro-Tour Double. Vegni stated, "If I'm not wrong, Pantani was the last. So perhaps it's time for a rider to add their name to the roll of honour." Pogačar did state he plans on attempting to win the Giro at some point in the future, but not in 2022.[67] The only riders to complete any grand tour double since Pantani are Alberto Contador in 2008 and Chris Froome in 2017.

2022 edit

 
Pogacar riding to victory at the 2022 Strade Bianche

Pogačar started the season off by defending his title at the UAE Tour, winning both mountaintop finishes in the process.[68] Afterwards, Pogačar went to Italy for an Italian block of racing, starting with the Strade Bianche. Despite getting involved in a crash with around 100 kilometres to go, Pogačar attacked on the longest sector of the race, the Monte Santa Marie, with around 50 kilometres remaining. Pogačar gradually built his advantage to more than a minute before holding off the chasers to win the race solo.[69] Two days later, Pogačar started his title defense at Tirreno-Adriatico. He won the uphill finish on stage four before dominating the queen stage. Pogačar won the general classification by almost two minutes over Jonas Vingegaard as well as winning the points and young rider classifications.[70] A week later, Pogačar rode Milan-San Remo, where he attacked several times on the Poggio before finishing in fifth.[71]

A few days later, Pogačar rode his first cobbled classic, the Dwars door Vlaanderen. He was caught in a bad position when the winning group escaped from the peloton and despite his attempts to bridge up to the lead group, he was unable to do so and he finished in tenth.[72] Afterwards, Pogačar rode the Tour of Flanders, his debut at a cobbled Monument. Pogačar attacked on the second ascent of Oude Kwaremont and the Koppenberg to pull ahead of the peloton with a select group of riders. He accelerated twice more on the final ascent of Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg and only Mathieu van der Poel was able to go with him. The duo rode slowly inside the final kilometre as they prepared for the sprint but this action allowed Dylan van Baarle and Valentin Madouas to come back in the final few hundred metres. Pogačar ended up getting boxed in during the sprint, causing him to finish fourth as van der Poel took the win.[73] Following the race, Pogačar shifted his focus to the Ardennes classics starting with the Flèche Wallonne, where he finished twelfth.[74] Pogačar was supposed to defend his title at Liège–Bastogne–Liège but he skipped it after the death of his fiancée, Urška Žigart's, mother.[75] Pogačar returned to competition at the Tour of Slovenia, his final race before the Tour. He and Rafał Majka dominated the race, winning two stages each with Pogačar winning the general classification ahead of Majka.[76]

Pogačar started the Tour with a third place in the first stage's short individual time trial, gaining time on his rivals for the general classification.[77] On stage 5, which featured cobbles as part of the route, Pogačar rode an aggressive race to gain 13 seconds on the rest of the favorites.[78] The following day, Pogačar won the uphill sprint to Longwy to move into the yellow jersey.[79] On stage 7, which featured the race's first summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogačar attacked inside the final kilometre. In the final few hundred metres, Jonas Vingegaard put in an acceleration that was only followed by the Slovenian. Pogačar moved past Vingegaard near the line to win his second successive stage, extending his lead to 35 seconds over the Dane.[80] The next stage, Pogačar finished third in another uphill sprint to gain four more bonus seconds, extending his lead to 39 seconds over Vingegaard.[81]

On stage 11, the race headed to the high mountains with a stage featuring the Télégraphe-Galibier combo before a summit finish at Col du Granon. On the Col du Télégraphe and on the lower slopes of Col du Galibier, Primož Roglič and Vingegaard began to repeatedly attack Pogačar but the Slovene was able to respond each time. Pogačar responded by attacking towards the top of Galibier, bringing only Vingegaard with him. After the rest of the reduced peloton caught the duo on the descent, Vingegaard attacked on the Col du Granon with four kilometres left. Pogačar was unable to respond as he cracked on the climb, losing three minutes and the yellow jersey to Vingegaard, who won the stage.[82] Over the next five stages, Pogačar repeatedly attacked Vingegaard but the Dane was able to respond each time. The race headed to the Pyrenees with Pogačar facing a deficit of almost two and a half minutes to Vingegaard.

 
Pogačar (right) leading race leader Jonas Vingegaard during the 2022 Tour de France

The seventeenth stage featured four climbs including a summit finish at Peyragudes. Mikkel Bjerg set a fast pace on the second climb before Brandon McNulty set a furious pace on the third climb, dropping everyone but Pogačar and Vingegaard. On the final climb to Peyragudes, McNulty continued to set the pace before the top two on GC battled it out in a sprint. Pogačar was able to outsprint Vingegaard to win his third stage in the race but the Dane still retained a lead of 2' 18" at the end of the day.[83] The next stage, the race's final mountain stage to Hautacam, Pogačar attacked multiple times on the penultimate climb, the Col du Spandelles, but Vingegaard was able to respond each time. On the descent of the Spandelles, Pogačar crashed but he was able to quickly get back up. Vingegaard waited for Pogačar, with the two shaking hands once Pogačar had caught up.[84] On the final climb to Hautacam, Pogačar was dropped by Vingegaard, with the help of Wout van Aert who was in the breakaway. Pogačar lost more than a minute to Vingegaard, who won the stage to consolidate his yellow jersey.[85] On the penultimate day individual time trial, Pogačar finished third to consolidate his second place on GC before the final stage to Champs-Élysées.[86] Pogačar finished the stage safely to officially finish second on GC as well as taking the young rider classification in the process.[87]

After the Tour, It was confirmed by Javier Guillén, the director of Vuelta a España, that Pogačar elected to skip the 2022 edition of the race.[88] Pogačar returned to racing at the Clásica de San Sebastián, where he was unable to keep up with the pace before climbing off.[89] After a one month break, Pogačar rode at the Bretagne Classic and GP Québec, with the Slovene being unable to battle for the win in both races.[90][91] At the GP Montréal, Pogačar was part of the five-man lead group that contested for the win. At the finish, Pogačar outsprinted van Aert to take his fourteenth win of the season.[92] Afterwards, Pogačar travelled to Australia to compete at the World Championships. Pogačar finished sixth in the individual time trial before crossing the line in 19th at the road race.[93][94]

To finish the season, Pogačar went to Italy for the autumn classics. At the Giro dell'Emilia, Pogačar finished second after he was dropped by Enric Mas on the final climb of San Luca.[95] As his final preparation for his title defense at Il Lombardia, Pogačar rode at the Tre Valli Varesine, where he outsprinted the lead group to win the race, his fifteenth of the season.[96] Pogačar ended his season at the Il Lombardia, the final Monument of the year. After his team controlled the majority of the race, Pogačar attacked on the climb of Civiglio with around 20 kilometres left. The only ones who were able to follow his move were Mas and Mikel Landa. On the final climb, the San Fermo della Battaglia, Pogačar and Mas dropped Landa before contesting the win in a two-up sprint. At the line, Pogačar outsprinted Mas to successfully defend his Il Lombardia title.[97] With 16 wins, Pogačar ended the season by being the rider with the most wins in the 2022 season in the men's peloton.

2023 edit

 
Pogacar at the 2023 Tour de France

Pogačar started off the 2023 season with a win at the Jaén Paraiso Interior, before winning both the overall in the Vuelta a Andalucía and the Paris-Nice. [98] He continued his domination in the Classics with a further three wins in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne.[99]

At the start of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Pogačar crashed with Mikkel Honore, which left him with a fractured wrist, bringing an end to his race.[100] His wrist was successfully operated on and Pogačar was able to return to training on the indoor bike a few weeks after, before joining his team at their training camp in Sierra Nevada. [101] This injury occurred only months away from the Tour de France, casting doubts on whether he would be fit to race or be in the form he needed to compete in the General Classification and he had only two race days to get in shape before the Tour de France.[102][103] Pogačar won Stage 6 [104] of the Tour de France 2023 from Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque, and Stage 20 from Belfort to Le Markstein. He came second overall in the general classification.

2024 edit

Pogačar announced a challenging 2024 racing schedule, aiming for a Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double, as well as the Olympic time trial and road race, and the World Championships road race. This pursuit brings him into contention for the prestigious Triple Crown of Cycling, a feat involving winning the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and UCI Road World Championships in a single year, an achievement considered by many to be the greatest single feat in cycling. Additionally, only seven riders have accomplished the Giro-Tour double, with Marco Pantani being the most recent in 1998.[105]

On March 2, in his opening race of the year, Pogačar won the Strade Bianche with a long solo attack, breaking away with 81 kilometers to go and winning by over two and a half minutes ahead of second-place Toms Skujiņš.[106] On March 16, he placed third at Milan-San Remo, after setting a record time up the Poggio but failing to distance himself enough from the field.[107] Pogačar then won the general, points, and mountain classifications at the Volta a Catalunya, held from March 18 to 24. He secured victory in four of the seven stages, and finished the race nearly four minutes ahead of second-place finisher Mikel Landa.[108]

On April 21, Pogačar secured his second victory at Liège–Bastogne–Liège with a solo attack from 35 kilometers out, winning his 6th career monument at just 25 years of age. He crossed the finish line with a lead of 1 minute and 39 seconds, the largest winning margin since 1980.[109]

Pogačar began the Giro d'Italia as the heavy favorite to win the overall general classification.[110] On stage 2, he launched a solo attack on the steep climb to Santuario di Oropa, winning the stage, taking the pink jersey, and securing a 45 second advantage over Geraint Thomas.[111] Pogačar won the individual time trial on stage 7 ahead of two-time ITT world champion and stage favourite Filippo Ganna, after turning a 44 second deficit at the bottom of the final climb into a 17 second advantage on the finish line. Furthermore, Pogačar extended his lead in the general classification to a gap of 2' 36" ahead of nearest GC rival Daniel Martínez.[112] The next day, Pogačar won stage 8 by managing the race from the front and winning the final uphill sprint.[113] In the third and final week of the race, he added back-to-back wins. First with a stunning solo attack on stage 15, the queen- and hardest stage of the Giro, by closing a gap of almost 3 minutes to the breakaway, including Nairo Quintana, on the final climb before dropping the 2014 winner of the race. Then again after the rest day, he won on the summit finish of the shortened stage 16.[114][115] By the start of stage 20, the Slovenian already had a massive lead in the GC of 7' 42".[116] However, he decided that wasn't enough and put in one of his greatest career performances by attacking on the stage's second ascent of the Monte Grappa, once again dropping everyone before successfully completing a 36-kilometre solo and taking 2 more minutes on the other GC contenders.[117][118] Pogačar would lead the 2024 Giro d'Italia into Rome with an enormous margin of nearly 10 minutes, 6 stage wins and the mountains classification.[119] Such a dominant Grand Tour victory hadn't been seen in a very long time, however the general impression of Pogačar's performance was that he "held back", despite his incredible results. This was because he did not look overly spent or tired, and still had a Tour de France title to reclaim, after placing second to Jonas Vingegaard for the last two editions while winning the race in 2020 and 2021.[120] After stage 20, he claimed his 6th stage win was a "final test" for the Tour de France, his main goal of the season.[121] With just five weeks to recover and train for the Tour, Pogačar would do another altitude camp before starting as one of the main favorites in Florence.[122]

Comparisons with Eddy Merckx edit

While many had been hesitant to make comparisons between Pogačar and Merckx following his first Tour victory, before he even started his second Tour, Cyrille Guimard, a former rival of Merckx and a Directeur Sportif of Greg LeMond, as well as of former Tour champions Van Impe, Fignon and Hinault claimed that Pogačar was above the level of both Merckx and Hinault.[123] Then, following his performance on stage eight, former Tour de France winner Joop Zoetemelk compared the young Slovenian to Merckx.[124] By the end of the race Merckx himself said that he regarded the Slovenian as "the new Cannibal", in reference to his own nickname, also suggesting that "If nothing happens to him, he can certainly win the Tour de France more than five times".[125] After the 2021 Il Lombardia, Merckx said that he has heard plenty of cyclists called "the new Merckx", but none of them ever fulfilled the promise. In Pogačar's case he thinks it is finally true because of the races he has already won.[126] Ernesto Colnago said that, according to his experience, Pogačar will be "the only one following Eddy Merckx".[127]

Personal life edit

Tadej was born and grew up in Komenda, 20 km north of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. His mother Marjeta is a teacher of French and his father Mirko formerly worked in management at a chair factory before joining Tadej's former team Ljubljana Gusto Santic as part of their management team in 2021. Tadej is the third of four siblings.[18]

Pogačar lives in Monaco with his partner, fellow Slovenian professional cyclist Urška Žigart.[128] They became engaged in September 2021.[129] His role model is Alberto Contador.[130] He was also an admirer of Fränk and Andy Schleck while growing up.[18]

In addition to his native Slovenian, Pogačar speaks fluent English.[131]

Major results edit

Road edit

2015
8th Overall Course de la Paix Juniors
2016
1st   Time trial, National Junior Championships
1st   Overall Giro della Lunigiana
1st   Points classification
1st Stage 3
1st Stage 2b Course de la Paix Juniors
3rd   Road race, UEC European Junior Championships
3rd Tf GD Dorigo
3rd Montichiari–Roncone
6th Overall Tour du Pays de Vaud
7th G.P. Sportivi Sovilla-La Piccola SanRemo
7th Trofeo Emilio Paganessi
2017
2nd Raiffeisen Grand Prix
3rd Time trial, National Under-23 Championships
3rd Overall Tour de Hongrie
4th Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
5th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st   Young rider classification
5th Overall Carpathian Couriers Race
1st   Young rider classification
7th Piccolo Giro di Lombardia
8th GP Laguna
9th GP Capodarco
9th Croatia–Slovenia
10th Giro del Belvedere
2018
National Under-23 Championships
1st   Road race
1st   Time trial
1st   Overall Tour de l'Avenir
1st   Overall Grand Prix Priessnitz spa
1st   Mountains classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 3
1st   Overall Giro del Friuli-Venezia Giulia
1st   Young rider classification
1st Trofeo Gianfranco Bianchin
2nd Gran Premio Palio del Recioto
2nd Time trial, National Championships
3rd Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
4th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st   Young rider classification
4th Poreč Trophy
4th Raiffeisen Grand Prix
5th GP Laguna
7th Road race, UCI World Under-23 Championships
8th Giro del Belvedere
2019 (8 pro wins)
1st   Time trial, National Championships
1st   Overall Tour of California
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 6
1st   Overall Volta ao Algarve
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 2
3rd Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 9, 13 & 20
4th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st   Young rider classification
6th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st   Young rider classification
6th GP Miguel Induráin
7th Gran Premio di Lugano
2020 (9)
National Championships
1st   Time trial
2nd Road race
1st   Overall Tour de France
1st   Mountains classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 9, 15 & 20 (ITT)
1st   Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 2 & 4
2nd Overall UAE Tour
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 5
3rd Liège–Bastogne–Liège
4th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné
9th La Flèche Wallonne
2021 (13)
1st   Overall Tour de France
1st   Mountains classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 5 (ITT), 17 & 18
1st   Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st   Mountains classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 4
1st   Overall UAE Tour
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stage 3
1st   Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st   Mountains classification
1st Stage 2
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st Giro di Lombardia
3rd   Road race, Olympic Games
National Championships
3rd Time trial
5th Road race
3rd Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 3
3rd Tre Valli Varesine
4th Milano–Torino
5th Road race, UEC European Championships
7th Strade Bianche
10th Time trial, UCI World Championships
2022 (16)
1st   Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st   Points classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 4 & 6
1st   Overall UAE Tour
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 4 & 7
1st   Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st   Points classification
1st Stages 3 & 5
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Strade Bianche
1st Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
1st Tre Valli Varesine
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 6, 7 & 17
Held   after Stages 6–10
2nd Giro dell'Emilia
4th Tour of Flanders
5th Milan–San Remo
6th Time trial, UCI World Championships
10th Dwars door Vlaanderen
2023 (17)
National Championships
1st   Road race
1st   Time trial
1st   Overall Paris–Nice
1st   Points classification
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 4, 7 & 8
1st   Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
1st   Points classification
1st Stages 1, 2 & 4
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Amstel Gold Race
1st La Flèche Wallonne
1st Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior
2nd Overall Tour de France
1st   Young rider classification
1st Stages 6 & 20
2nd Giro dell'Emilia
3rd   Road race, UCI World Championships
3rd E3 Saxo Classic
3rd Coppa Sabatini
4th Milan–San Remo
4th Giro della Toscana
5th Tre Valli Varesine
2024 (14)
1st   Overall Giro d'Italia
1st   Mountains classification
1st Stages 2, 7 (ITT), 8, 15, 16 & 20
1st   Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st   Points classification
1st   Mountains classification
1st Stages 2, 3, 6 & 7
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st Strade Bianche
3rd Milan–San Remo

General classification results timeline edit

Grand Tour general classification results
Grand Tour 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
  Giro d'Italia 1
  Tour de France 1 1 2 2
  Vuelta a España 3
Major stage race general classification results
Race 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
  Paris–Nice 1
  Tirreno–Adriatico 1 1
  Volta a Catalunya NH 1
  Tour of the Basque Country 6 3
  Tour de Romandie
  Critérium du Dauphiné 4
  Tour de Suisse NH

Classics results timeline edit

Monument 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Milan–San Remo 12 5 4 3
Tour of Flanders 4 1
Paris–Roubaix NH
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 18 3 1 DNF 1
Giro di Lombardia 1 1 1
Classic 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Strade Bianche 30 13 7 1 1
Milano–Torino 4
E3 Saxo Bank Classic NH 3
Dwars door Vlaanderen 10
Amstel Gold Race DNF 1
La Flèche Wallonne 53 9 12 1
Clásica de San Sebastián DNF NH DNF
Bretagne Classic DNF 89
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec Not held 24
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 1
Giro dell'Emilia DNF 2 2
Tre Valli Varesine NH 3 1 5

Major championships results timeline edit

Event 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
  Olympic Games Road race Not held 3 Not held
Time trial
  World Championships Road race 18 33 37 19 3
Time trial 10 6 21
  European Championships Road race 5
Time trial 12
  National Championships Road race 6 7 2 5 1
Time trial 5 2 1 1 3 1
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish
NH Not Held
IP In progress

Cyclo-cross edit

 
Pogačar winning a Slovenian cyclo-cross race in Ljubljana (2021)
2018–2019
1st   National Championships
2021–2022
Slovenian Cup
1st Ljubljana
2022–2023
Slovenian Cup
2nd Ljubljana

Awards edit

References edit

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  123. ^ Johnny Long (30 April 2021). "Tadej Pogačar is Above the Level of Hinault and Merckx". Cycling Weekly.
  124. ^ "Pogacar me rappelle Merckx», affirme Joop Zoetemelk, ex-vainqueur du Tour de France". Le Parisien. 4 July 2021.
  125. ^ Pretot, Julien (18 July 2021). Sarkar, Pritha; Davis, Toby (eds.). "Cycling-'Baby Cannibal' Pogacar claims vintage Tour de France title". reuters.com. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  126. ^ "Mercks e Pogacar, in DMT incontro tra fenomeni". TuttoBiciWeb (in Italian). 11 October 2021. Ho sentito dire tante volte "questo è il nuovo Merckx" senza che poi le premesse si realizzassero, ma con Tadej penso che stavolta ci siamo davvero.
  127. ^ "Colnago. "Festa con Pogacar? E' l'unico che può eguagliare Eddy Merckx"". TuttoBiciWeb (in Italian). 16 December 2021. Eddy Merckx ce n'è uno solo, però lui, secondo la mia esperienza, e sono un uomo di quasi 90 anni, sarà l'unico che seguirà Eddy Merckx
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