Tour de France: Tadej Pogacar style 'a lot more attractive' than 'calculated' Chris Froome - Eddy Merckx
“We’re in another cycling era with Pogacar compared to the cycling of Froome, who is also a great champion. But I think this racing is a lot more attractive than Froome's,” said Merckx on the latest episode of The Cycling Show, which is available to stream now on discovery+. Many are touting Pogacar as the man who could surpass Merckx’s haul of five yellow jerseys at the Tour de France.
'It was almost becoming PlayStation' – Merckx on 'calculated' Froome and Ineos tactics
Belgian cycling icon Eddy Merckx claims that Tadej Pogacar’s style of racing is more exciting than the “calculated, almost PlayStation” approach of Chris Froome and Ineos in the 2010s.
Froome won four Tour de France titles between 2013 and 2017 with Ineos, formerly Team Sky, who built a reputation on locking down Grand Tours after securing seven yellow jerseys in eight years.
With the financial muscle to pack their squad with super-domestiques, Ineos and Froome were rarely exposed on the tough climbs until the final moments, while the pace set on the front was fast enough to prevent lasting attacks from rivals.
Ineos have shifted away from those tactics in recent seasons, with team supremo Dave Brailsford keen to change their image, with Slovenian duo Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) emerging as the new forces in the peloton. Pogacar has won the last two Tours, while Roglic boasts three Vueltas on the spin.
“We must not forget that he won four Tours de France and you don’t win four Tour de France just like that.
“But I think this racing is a lot more attractive than Froome’s. It was a little too calculated, it was almost becoming PlayStation."
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Like Pogacar, Merckx won the yellow jersey at his first two Tours. 'The Cannibal' claimed five Tours in total across a glittering career that also yielded 34 stage wins, a record only recently matched by Britain’s Mark Cavendish.
“For now, I don’t see who could beat Pogacar," continued Merckx.
"It’s great to see a yellow jersey that attacks rather than a jersey that waits, waits, waits. He really makes a difference with the yellow jersey on his shoulders and that’s what makes him so popular I think.
“He really has everything it takes to remain a Tour de France winner for years to come.”
Merckx’s bulging palmarès also includes five Giro d’Italia titles, a Vuelta and a sweep of monuments – one of just three riders to win all five of cycling's most prestigious one-day races (Milan San-Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia).
Pogacar has also tried his hand at one-day racing, winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro di Lombardia in 2021. He also won road race bronze at Tokyo 2020.
“I think the fact he rides both classics and the stage races bring him a little closer to me,” continued Merckx.
“And I think a great rider has to win both the classics and the stage races to be a super champion.
“It’s also his way of racing, he’s not afraid to attack. When you see the Tour de France with the yellow jersey on his shoulders he attacks.
“From that point of a view, he really is a lot like me.”
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