Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Road

Refreshed Tadej Pogačar targets ambitious fall with eyes on rainbow jersey

European and world championships and debut at Il Lombardia are targets in second half of 2021.

Get access to everything we publish when you join VeloNews or Outside+.

Tadej Pogačar is back from his post-Olympic Games vacation, and jumps back into racing with an ambitious fall calendar anchored by the world championships and Il Lombardia.

The two-time defending Tour de France champion returns to racing Sunday at the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France, and will start the European championships (September 9-12) before chasing the rainbow jersey and the Italian fall classic.

“I took a week off, and went to the beach. Now I am ready to race again,” Pogačar said in a media call Saturday. “It’s the first time I am doing [Plouay], and it will be an honor to race with the national Slovenian team at the world championships.”

Pogačar is still flying high from his brilliant summer, marked by a second yellow jersey at the Tour and bronze in the elite men’s road race in Tokyo.

Despite his skyrocketing profile, Pogačar insists he is still a bike racer at his core.

“People recognize me on the street, but it’s not like I’m a pop star. I’m just a bike rider,” he said. “I enjoy racing my bike. I am living my dream right now. I’m excited to race again.”

The UAE Emirates star said he’s putting a special focus on the European time trial title, where he will lock horns with the likes of Filippo Ganna (Italy) and Remco Evenepoel (Belgium).

“I’ve never put a big focus on a one-day time trial before, and I want to get better at this,” he said. “And I will race the road race at the worlds.”

The rainbow jersey is something that’s so far has eluded the otherwise prolific Pogačar, who never won the world title racing as a junior or U23. His best so far as a pro was 18th in 2019.

The demanding Flanders-styled worlds course ending in Leuven could prove a challenge, but Pogačar insists he will be there.

After the worlds, Pogačar will race Il Lombardia for the first time. After winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège this spring, he will be one of the favorites to add a second monument to his growing trophy case.

“I like to go to different races that I have not raced yet,” Pogačar said. “I’d like to race the Giro and Vuelta, two races I have not won yet. There are a lot of races I can still win.”

Pogačar’s 2022 schedule will be confirmed in the coming months once the route details are revealed for the grand tours.