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Pogacar plays down Tour de France chances - 'It's too early'

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Tadej Pogacar (Emirates)

Image credit: Getty Images

ByMichael Hincks
02/06/2020 at 15:33 | Updated 02/06/2020 at 15:38
@MichaelHincks

Tadej Pogacar says he will not be feeling the pressure when professional cycling returns later this year.

The UAE Team Emirates rider, who was third in last year’s Vuelta a Espana, is set to lead his team at the Tour de France, which is scheduled to start on August 29.

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Pogacar admits there is uncertainty whether the Tour will get the green light, and played down his own chances if glory should it go ahead.

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00:04:02

"I think that there's even less expectation on my shoulders now," he told Cyclingnews. "People don't expect a lot from me after the pandemic; some don't even believe that there's going to be a Tour.

"Everything is up in the air, but if there is a Tour de France this year, it's too early to think of a GC result for me. I expect to prepare well, and that I'll do everything that I can, but I can't start talking about results.

Of course, I want to race there and to be with the best, and to try to attack, but I know that it's going to be difficult. It could be even tougher because a lot of riders who were down for the Giro and the Vuelta will probably head to the Tour now. It means that the competition will be even bigger.

Watch the finish: Wonderkid Pogacar storms to third stage win of La Vuelta

00:02:23

The UCI announced its revised calendar last month, with the Tour de France coming before the Vuelta and Giro d’Italia crossover.

Pogacar is yet to finalise his own schedule, but is still planning to peak for the Tour after starting with the Strade Bianche on August 1.

The Slovenian added: "It's not 100 per cent yet, but I'll probably start with Strade Bianche. I'd then do either Milan-San Remo or Il Lombardia. Then it would be the Dauphiné, which is five days, and then the Tour and the World Championships – but nothing is for sure yet.

Slow-motion sprint as Pogacar wins stage on eye-watering final ascent

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"For sure, everyone will be slower. The power will still be there, and I think that everyone is training again. We're all on the same page, so I don't think that there will be a huge difference between the riders.

"Some riders have had longer lockdowns – that's true – and I just hope that those guys haven't burned out on the home trainers. I found the trainer hard going. For me, being on the rollers was tough, and the longest ride I did inside was about one hour and 30 minutes.

"No one will know their form at the first few races. I'll just try to do my best for those races, but I'm of course going to try to peak for the Tour de France.”

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