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“It’s hard to believe that Pogačar will be ready for the Race around Slovenia”



These days I’m back on the bike, on Friday for altitude training

Tadej Pogačar’s recovery is going according to plan, on Friday he will join the team for high-altitude training at Sierra Nevada, but everything indicates that he will not be ready for any preparatory race.

When the fight for the pink jersey ends in Rome on Sunday, the cycling public’s attention will quickly turn to the Tour de France, since its start is just over a month away. Tadej Pogačar, after breaking his wrist and undergoing an operation, looks pretty good that he will arrive in Bilbao on July 1 well prepared, as he will be able to take part in altitude training. Admittedly, not to the full extent, but still – Pogačar is going on a bike these days for the first time after his injury, and on Friday already in Spain, the sports director of the UAE, Andrej Hautman, confirmed to us.

How is Tadej Pogačar’s recovery progressing?Everything is going according to plan. Tadej is feeling well, but you have to be careful with injuries. Only when everything is ready will he start full training. That is why he is currently training according to an adapted program.

What does that mean? How has he been training these past weeks? Especially on the trainer?He did many exercises in the pool, with a physical therapist, ran, did leg and trunk strength exercises. Trainer? Of course, cyclists can’t do without it. Training on the bike will also come soon.

Tadej Pogačar won the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021, and was second last year.  This year he was phenomenally well-prepared, winning series until an injury - a broken wrist - stopped him.  Photo: EPA

What does soon mean?He will try in the next few days, but until then it is difficult to say anything. It will all depend on how much pain he feels. We will do our best to ensure that the first training sessions take place on the least demanding terrain and on the best road possible. On May 26, he will join the team for altitude training in the Sierra Nevada.

Is there any preparation race still planned? Dauphine (June 4-11)? Will he defend his victory at the Race around Slovenia from June 14 to 18?We are currently waiting to see how the regeneration will unfold. We have to see his reactions when he gets on the road bike, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll be ready for the Tour of Slovenia.

If it weren’t for Tadej’s injury, Pogačar would have already seen key parts of this year’s Tour de France. Is this still in the plan?Tadej and I were supposed to see quite a few stages in mid-May, but we postponed everything and will do it in a good two weeks. However, when we join the UAE at the Dauphiné Race, we will take a look at the first mountain stage (5th stage; Pau-Laruns). Immediately after the end of the Dauphine Race, a tour of the key Alpine stages follows.

UAE Director Joxean Matxin Fernandez will also be able to help…Hold on. We will see the opening stages of the Tour in the Basque Country before the start of the Tour, we will meet with the whole team that much earlier, but it is true that Matxin is from Bilbao and knows the roads there in detail. I believe that we have everything under control, more than not we know the route quite well, these tours of the stages are just the icing on the cake.

Which stages will be key?I don’t want to highlight any stage. At this year’s Tour of Italy, we see that every stage can be important and that something can always happen. Each stage can eliminate a favorite, but the overall winner will have to wait until the last day.

Will you be part of the UAE for all three weeks of the Tour?I will. We will have four UAE sports directors there.

We are also starting the Race around Italy. It was marked by the resignation of Remec Evenepoel, bad weather and a kind of truce between the favorites, who until now have not worn the pink shirt. Your opinion?I don’t find the race boring at all. True, there is a lot of bad weather, although – we sometimes jokingly say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment. There was a lot of that at the Giro. Until now, the teams had to have a lot of good equipment. But cycling is also so interesting because it is unpredictable. The Giro has been interesting so far, with a spectacular final week ahead of us. I believe the first 14 days riders were thinking of the last week.

The race in Italy is boring for some this year because there are not many attacks by the favorites, but Hauptman thinks otherwise, and at the same time predicts a spectacular final week, in which Joao Almeida, who is only 20 seconds behind Roglič in the overall standings, will play an important role.  Photo: EPA

When do you think Primož Roglič will attack the pink shirt? Will he wait until Saturday and the time trial at Višare?I believe that everything will go the way Primož wants, but the outcome will have to wait until the decisive stopwatch. You know how it is in cycling, the goal is when you reach the finish line of the last stage.

Did Jumbo Visma make any mistakes in the first two weeks?I don’t think there are any yet. They are in a great position for the final week of racing.

And how do you see the UAE team racing?They came to Italy determined to win the pink shirt. It looks good, the boys won two stages (Ackermann, McNulty) and are optimistically waiting for the last week. Joao Almeida is in great form and close to the best.

Source: Rtvslo

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