Tadej Pogačar sees deeper support for 2022 Tour de France title defense
American Brandon McNulty back for second Tour start, with George Bennett and Marc Soler adding depth for the mountains.
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Tadej Pogačar will see stronger support in the mountains as he embarks on his third straight yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
UAE Team Emirates confirmed its Tour de France team on Monday morning, with newcomers Marc Soler and George Bennett adding extra firepower for the mountains while Matteo Trentin brings depth and experience for the first week, as well as an option for stage wins.
American Brandon McNulty is back for his second Tour, along with Raja Majka, Vegard Stake Laengen, and Mikkel Bjerg from last year’s winning team.
“It’s already my third time coming to the Tour and I’m really excited about it,” Pogačar said Monday. “We’ve worked really hard all year as a team to prepare for this and we hope we can give everyone watching 3 weeks of exciting racing.
“This year so far has been a positive one for the team and we are hoping to continue that here at the Tour. We know it won’t be easy and we’ll have many challenges but that is part of the magic of the Tour.”
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The team selection sees a return of the core group of riders who delivered Pogačar safely to his title defense in 2021. The only riders missing from last year’s team are Marc Hirschi, who skipped the Swiss nationals over the weekend, and Rui Costa and Davide Formolo, who both raced the Giro d’Italia last month.
Riders such as Stake Laengen, Bjerg, and Trentin will help guide Pogačar through the Tour’s dangerous first week, with McNulty playing a variety of roles in the flats, climbs, and medium mountains.
The team’s Tour bench is deeper for the high mountains with the arrival of Bennett and Soler, two experienced domestiques whose job it will be to stay with Pogačar as long as they can in the Alps and Pyrénées.
“Every year the challenge to win the Tour gets harder, all we can do is prepare as best we can and trust our team to produce their best as a group,” said team manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez.
“Our ambition is to win the overall title with Pogačar and we have built a strong team around him. Last year we had a great group and the base of the team is similar to last year’s with a few strong additions in key areas.
“We have studied the route and it’s far from an easy parcours. Also the level of our competitors is really high, but we are confident and know that a big result is well within the capabilities of Tadej and the team.”
UAE Team Emirates for the 2022 Tour de France
Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
Rafal Majka (Pol)
Brandon McNulty (USA)
Marc Soler (Spa)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
George Bennett (NZ)
Mikkel Bjerg (Den)