Tadej Pogačar

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Tadej Pogačar
Tadej Pogačar (2020).jpg
Tadej Pogačar in 2020 (TDF Stage 20)
Personal information
Full nameTadej Pogačar
NicknamePogi
Born (1998-09-21) 21 September 1998 (age 22)
Komenda, Slovenia
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9+12 in)
Weight66 kg (146 lb; 10 st 6 lb)
Team information
Current teamUAE Team Emirates
DisciplineRoad
RoleRider
Rider typeAll-rounder
Professional teams
2017–2018Rog–Ljubljana
2019–UAE Team Emirates
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
General classification (2020, 2021)
Mountains classification (2020, 2021)
Young rider classification (2020, 2021)
6 individual stages (2020, 2021)
Vuelta a España
Young rider classification (2019)
3 individual stages (2019)

Stage races

Tirreno–Adriatico (2021)
Tour of California (2019)
UAE Tour (2021)
Tour of Slovenia (2021)
Volta ao Algarve (2019)
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2020)

One-day races and Classics

National Time Trial Championships (2019, 2020)
Liège–Bastogne–Liège (2021)

Tadej Pogačar (Slovene pronunciation: [taˈdɛ́ːj pɔˈɡáːtʃaɾ] (About this soundlisten); born 21 September 1998) is a Slovenian cyclist who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam UAE Team Emirates.

In 2019, he became the youngest cyclist to win a UCI World Tour race when he won the Tour of California at the age of 20. Later in the year, in his debut Grand Tour, Pogačar won three stages of the Vuelta a España en route to a third place finish and the young rider classification. In both his Tour de France debut and the following year, he won three stages and the race overall, as well as the mountains and young rider classifications, becoming the only rider to win these three classifications simultaneously. He is the first Slovenian winner, and, at the age of 21, was the second-youngest winner after Henri Cornet, who won in 1904 at the age of 19.

While many had been hesitant to make comparisons between Pogačar and Merckx following his first Tour victory, before he even started his second Tour Cyrille Guimard, a former rival of Merckx and Directeur Sportif of Greg LeMond as well as former Tour champions Van Impe, Hinault and Fignon claimed that Pogačar was above the level of both Merckx and Hinault. Then following his performance on stage eight former Tour de France winner Joop Zoetemelk compared the young Slovenian to Merckx. By the end of the race Merckx himself said that he regarded the Slovenian as "the new Cannibal", in reference to his own nickname, also suggesting that "if nothing happens to him, he can certainly win the Tour de France more than five times".

In 2021, he also made history when he became the first Tour de France winner to take an Olympic medal in the road race in the same year after he took bronze at the men's road race.

He reached the top of the men's UCI World Ranking for road racing in October 2020, holding the position for two weeks, and again in July 2021.

Career

Early career

Pogačar followed his older brother Tilen in joining the Rog Ljubljana club at the age of nine. In 2011 he came to the attention of Road World Championship medallist Andrej Hauptman, who is as of 2021 his coach and head coach and selector for the Slovenian national cycling team. Hauptman watched Pogačar pursuing a group of much older teenagers from 100 metres behind. Thinking that Pogačar was struggling to keep up with the older riders, he told the race organisers that they should provide some assistance to Pogačar: the organisers explained that the younger rider was in fact about to lap the group he was chasing. Hauptman subsequently managed Pogačar as an under-23 rider with the Rog–Ljubljana team, before joining UAE Team Emirates as a directeur sportif in May 2019, after Pogačar joined the team.

UAE Team Emirates (2019–)

2019

Pogačar joined UAE Team Emirates from the 2019 season, a deal that was made ahead of the 2018 Tour de l'Avenir, which he won. He made his debut for the team at the Tour Down Under, where he finished 13th overall. He went on to win the Volta ao Algarve, taking the race lead after winning the second stage. He also placed sixth at the Tour of the Basque Country. In May 2019, he won the Tour of California, becoming the youngest rider to win a UCI WorldTour stage race. He took the race lead after winning the queen stage to Mount Baldy on stage 6. In June, Pogačar won the Slovenian national time trial championship after beating Matej Mohorič by 29 seconds.

In August, Pogačar was named in the team's startlist for the Vuelta a España, his debut in a Grand Tour. In the first week, he performed strongly, placing himself in the top ten on GC before winning his first Grand Tour stage on the rain-soaked stage to Cortals d'Encamp. The win allowed him to move inside the top five on GC. On stage 13, which finished on the steep climb of Los Machucos, he was the only rider to stay with the race leader and his compatriot, Primož Roglič. Pogačar ended up winning his second stage to move up to third overall, where he stayed heading into the second rest day. After losing time on stage 18, he dropped down to fifth on GC. On the penultimate stage, with one last chance to move up the standings, Pogačar launched an attack, going on an almost 40-kilometre (25 mi) solo breakaway. He eventually took his third stage win, winning by more than a minute and a half over the rest of the contenders. The win allowed him to finish the Vuelta in third overall, the final podium position, and giving him the victory in the young rider classification.

2020

In 2020, Pogačar won the Slovenian National Time Trial Championships for the second year in succession.

Before the season started, Pogačar announced that he was making his debut at the Tour de France, where he planned on riding in support of Fabio Aru. He made his season debut at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he won two stages on his way to winning the race. At the curtailed UAE Tour, he won the fifth stage, which finished atop the Jebel Hafeet, and finishing second to Adam Yates on GC. In March, cycling events were among those postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. When the season resumed, he took fourth overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the Slovenian national championships, he finished second to Primož Roglič in the road race before defeating him in the time trial, defending his title.

In the Tour de France, Pogačar quickly demonstrated that he was in better form than Aru, his team's inital leader, after finishing second to Roglič on stage four, which finished atop the climb of Orcières-Merlette. However, he lost almost a minute and a half on stage 7, which was affected by crosswinds. The next day, he began to claw back time when he attacked on the Col de Peyresourde, gaining back 38 seconds over the rest of the contenders. After Aru withdrew on stage 9, Pogacar won the stage to Laruns, his first Tour stage win, by outsprinting Egan Bernal and Roglič, who took the maillot jaune, as well as Marc Hirschi, who had been on an 80-kilometre (50 mi) solo breakaway. On stage 13, which finished atop the steep climb of Puy Mary, he was the only rider to stay with Roglič and moving up to second overall at 44 seconds down. He also took the lead in the young rider classification in the process. Two days later, he outsprinted Roglič at the top of the Col du Grand Colombier to take his second stage of the race.

At the beginning of the third week, Pogačar sat in second overall at 40 seconds behind Roglič. On stage 17, the queen stage which finished atop the Col de la Loze, he struggled to follow Roglič before eventually losing 17 seconds. Ahead of the penultimate stage, a 36.2-kilometre (22.5 mi) time trial finishing at La Planche des Belles Filles, Pogačar faced a 57 second deficit to Roglič. At the first time check, he already managed to claw back 13 seconds from his compatriot. He eventually headed into the final climb with a lead of 36 seconds and a deficit of 21 seconds on virtual GC. On the climb, Pogačar continued to gradually gain time before going into the virtual maillot jaune with still 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) left in his ride. At the top, he took his third stage of the race, almost a minute and a half ahead of Tom Dumoulin while Roglič finished almost two minutes down. As a result, he took the maillot jaune with a lead of 59 seconds on Roglič and he also took the lead in the mountain classification. The next day, he finished safely in the peloton to officially win the Tour, becoming the first Slovenian winner of the race. At the age of 21, he also became the second youngest winner of the Tour, just behind Henri Cornet, who won the Tour in 1904 at the age of 19. In addition to winning the Tour, he also won the young rider classification as well as the mountains classification. The previous rider to win three jerseys was Eddy Merckx in 1972. He became the twelfth rider to win the Tour de France on their first attempt, and the first since 1983.

After the Tour, Pogačar competed in the men's road race at the World Championships where he rode in support of Roglič, who eventually finished in sixth place. Three days later, he competed at La Flèche Wallonne where he finished in ninth place. He ended his season at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, where he originally finished in fourth place before moving up to third following Julian Alaphilippe's relegation.

2021

He started the 2021 season by winning the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico, Liège-Bastogne-Liège – his first win in a monument – and the Tour of Slovenia.

He began the 2021 Tour de France as one of the pre-race favorites along with Primož Roglič, Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz. On stage one he finished with the group of favorites eight seconds behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe and took the lead in the white jersey classification. Pogačar won the fifth stage, the race's first time trial, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Stefan Küng and taking significant time out of his GC rivals. On stage eight he launched an attack, from more than six minutes behind the breakaway, taking over the yellow jersey with a lead of over four and a half minutes on those considered to be contenders for the overall victory. Pogačar extended his GC lead on the ninth stage to Tignes, responding to an attack by Carapaz on the final climb 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the finish and dropping his rivals in the main group, emerging with an overall lead of over two minutes over second placed Ben O'Connor, who had moved up the order after winning the stage from the breakaway.

Following stage eleven, which included a double ascent of Mont Ventoux, the closest rivals to Pogačar included Rigoberto Uran, Jonas Vingegaard and Carapaz, but all them remained more than five minutes behind. Pogacar had temporarily lost some time to Vingegaard on the final ascent of Ventoux before catching him on the descent to the finish alongside Carapaz and Uran. Pogačar extended his lead further with wins on stages 17 (to the Col de Portet) and 18 (in Luz Ardiden), by which point he had a lead of 5' 45" over Vingegaard and an unassailable lead in the polka dot jersey classification. On the penultimate 20th stage, a time trial between Libourne and Saint-Émilion, Pogačar conceded half a minute to Vingegaard but retained a lead of over five minutes going into the final stage to Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Pogačar's win made him the youngest cyclist to win consecutive Tours. This was also the second year in a row that he won three distinctive jerseys. Both during and at the end of the Tour there were accusations of doping on social media and in the press due to the dominance Pogačar displayed. When asked about it he answered, "For sure I am not angry about it. They are uncomfortable questions because the [cycling] history was really bad. I totally understand why there are all of these questions."

Jonathan Vaughters, the Directeur Sportif of one of the teams who had a GC rider competing against Pogačar, Team EF Education–Nippo, offered an explanation for how Pogačar was able to be so successful on stage eight. He explained that the twin factors of uncharacteristic weather conditions and chaotic, uncontrolled racing dynamics played a part. In addition to this in previous years there was usually a dominant team who would contain the attacks of any riders considered a threat for victory, whether it was Team Ineos, Team Jumbo-Visma or Movistar Team. During the 2021 Tour teams Ineos and Jumbo had both suffered from the first week crashes and Movistar was not as strong as they had been in years past. As such by the time Pogačar launched his attack late in the stage, there were no teams remaining who were strong enough to keep him in check. Vaughters also stated, "Simply put, the race was so aggressive all day long, along with really the race as a whole on the flats, that basically by the time the peloton was taking in the climbs, they were cooked. This was further exacerbated by the wet conditions."

Following the Tour Pogačar won the bronze medal in the men's road race at the Olympic Games after finishing behind Wout van Aert in the sprint for the silver medal.

Personal life

Tadej was born and grew up in Komenda, 20 km north of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. His mother Marjeta is a teacher of French and his father Mirko formerly worked in management at a chair factory before joining Tadej's former team Ljubljana Gusto Santic as part of their management team in 2021. Tadej is the third of four siblings.

Pogačar lives in Monaco with his girlfriend, fellow Slovenian professional cyclist Urška Žigart. His role model is Alberto Contador. He was also an admirer of Fränk and Andy Schleck when growing up.

Pogačar speaks fluent Slovenian, English, and Italian.

Major results

2016
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Time trial, National Junior Road Championships
1st Jersey green.svg Overall Giro della Lunigiana
1st Jersey blue.svg Points classification
1st Stage 3
1st Stage 2b Course de la Paix Juniors
3rd Bronze medal europe.svg Road race, UEC European Junior Road Championships
2017
2nd Raiffeisen Grand Prix
3rd Time trial, National Under-23 Road Championships
3rd Overall Tour de Hongrie
4th Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
5th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
5th Overall Carpathian Couriers Race
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
7th Piccolo Giro di Lombardia
8th GP Laguna
9th GP Capodarco
9th Croatia–Slovenia
10th Giro del Belvedere
2018
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG National CX Championships
National Under-23 Road Championships
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Road race
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Time trial
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de l'Avenir
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Grand Prix Priessnitz spa
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 3
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Giro del Friuli-Venezia Giulia
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Trofeo Gianfranco Bianchin
2nd Gran Premio Palio del Recioto
3rd Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
4th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
4th Poreč Trophy
4th Raiffeisen Grand Prix
5th GP Laguna
7th Road race, UCI Under-23 Road World Championships
8th Giro del Belvedere
2019
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Time trial, National Road Championships
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour of California
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 6
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Volta ao Algarve
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 2
3rd Overall Vuelta a España
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stages 9, 13 & 20
4th Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
6th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st Jersey cyan.svg Young rider classification
6th GP Miguel Induráin
7th Gran Premio di Lugano
2020
National Road Championships
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Time trial
2nd Road race
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stages 9, 15 & 20 (ITT)
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stages 2 & 4
2nd Overall UAE Tour
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 5
3rd Liège–Bastogne–Liège
4th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné
9th La Flèche Wallonne
2021
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stages 5 (ITT), 17 & 18
1st MaillotAzul.PNG Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Jersey green.svg Mountains classification
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 4
1st Jersey red.svg Overall UAE Tour
1st Jersey white.svg Young rider classification
1st Stage 3
1st Jersey green 2.svg Overall Tour of Slovenia
1st Jersey blue.svg Mountains classification
1st Stage 2
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
3rd Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 3
3rd Bronze medal olympic.svg Road race, Olympic Games
National Road Championships
3rd Time trial
5th Road race
7th Strade Bianche

General classification results timeline

Grand Tour general classification results
Grand Tour 2019 2020 2021
Jersey pink.svg Giro d'Italia
Jersey yellow.svg Tour de France 1 1
Jersey red.svg Vuelta a España 3
Major stage race general classification results
Race 2019 2020 2021
Jersey yellow.svg Paris–Nice
Jersey blue.svg Tirreno–Adriatico 1
MaillotVolta.png Volta a Catalunya NH
Jersey yellow.svg Tour of the Basque Country 6 3
Jersey yellow.svg Tour de Romandie
Jersey yellow-bluebar.svg Critérium du Dauphiné 4
Jersey yellow.svg Tour de Suisse NH

Classics results timeline

Monument 2019 2020 2021
Milan–San Remo 12
Tour of Flanders
Paris–Roubaix NH
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 18 3 1
Giro di Lombardia
Classic 2019 2020 2021
Strade Bianche 30 13 7
Amstel Gold Race DNF NH
La Flèche Wallonne 53 9
Clásica de San Sebastián DNF NH

Major championships results timeline

Event 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Olympic Games Road race Not held 3
Time trial
World Championships Road race 18 33
Time trial
MaillotEslovenia.PNG National Championships Road race 6 7 2 5
Time trial 5 2 1 1 3
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish
NH Not Held

External links