Richie Porte reckons Tadej Pogacar could go on to become "the best of the best" in cycling history if he continues on his current trajectory.
Such has been the Slovenian's form over the past 18 months - and particularly since the start of 2022 - that he has become the man to beat at any race that he competes in, with his latest win coming at the Tirreno-Adriatico last week.
Porte was up against UAE Team Emirates' Pogacar at that event, with the Australian witnessing at first hand on the famed Carpegna climb the 23-year-old's remarkable power that seems to be currently unmatched by anyone else on the World Tour.
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Speaking to Velo News, INEOS Grenadiers' Porte said: "When he [Pogacar] jumped, it wasn’t like we were doing ridiculous power. He is a level above, he just rode off. No one was even able to react. It was just ridiculously hard and he just clipped off, and that was the last we saw of him.
"Right now, Pogacar is a level above, [Primoz] Roglic also I suppose.
"The sad thing is with Tadej is now that he has to answer questions and insinuations.
"I just think he is absolute class. He is a great kid and it’s exciting for the future of the sport. I think he’s going to be the best of the best.
"Time will tell [where he ends up in cycling's pantheon].
"For me, I think the next five years, there’s not going to be many races won by anyone but him. It’s what cycling needs, he’s fantastic, he’s a down-to-earth, normal kid."

Highlights: Pogacar powers to Stage 6 win at Tirreno-Adriatico

Porte, now 37, is still in the mix at the top end of elite cycling - and believes in the ability of his team to compete for the biggest prizes this year.
He said: "I still think we’re the best team in the peloton.
"At this point, with the big guys missing — ‘G’ [Geraint Thomas] is sick, [Richard] Carapaz is sick, and obviously what happened to Egan [Bernal]. The good news there is that he’s back on the bike.
"It’s hard not to have the luxury of having a Bradley Wiggins or a Chris Froome, who 99 percent of the time would finish it off.
"You look at UAE and Jumbo-Visma, you hope those guys enjoy what they’re on at the moment. Because those times don’t last forever.
"I think this team in the future will be the top team again."
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