Tadej Pogacar says he feels “almost ready” for his Tour de France title defence after warming up for it with victory in his home race.
The UAE Team Emirates rider controlled the five-day Tour of Slovenia and took the overall victory a comfortable one minute and 21 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.
With the second Grand Tour of the season just under a fortnight away, Pogacar laid down a marker to his rivals with the ease of his win, at an event which meant more to the 22-year-old than most of the field.
Cycling
Evenepoel: I need to improve to challenge Pogacar, Roglic, Bernal
18/10/2021 AT 17:24
"It is an incredible emotion, I have been near the podium in this race four times and I can finally celebrate taking the title," he said.
"It was a beautiful week that makes me happy and proud to be able to be here at home in front of all these people. The team has always worked well and we deserved these results, congratulations to all the guys.
My legs are getting better and better and I’m almost ready for the Tour de France. I still have two weeks to prepare myself for what will be my next big goal.
"(The) Tour of Slovenia gave me (the) right racing rhythm, and that will be of great help on the first week of the Tour. The route in Slovenia was very diverse, we had everything from climbs to sprints, and it was a good training race.”
Pogacar will continue his build up by racing in Slovenia's national championships before heading to France as one of the favourites for victory ahead of the Grand Depart in Brest on June 26.
Tour de France
Paradise for Pogacar? All you need to know about the 2022 Tour route - Blazin’ Saddles
14/10/2021 AT 22:06
Cycling
‘It’s going to be very hard’ - Cavendish on 2022 Tour route set up for all-rounders
14/10/2021 AT 16:04