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Tadej Pogačar joins the sick ward but will race Milan-San Remo: ‘I’m not 100 percent’

Pogačar wary of Mathieu van der Poel: 'I never believe that he is only here to train. I think he's good.'

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Tadej Pogačar vows to race Milan-San Remo on Saturday despite admitting he’s come down with a bit of a cold.

“I’m not 100 percent,” he said Friday during a press conference. “I have a bit of a stuffed nose. It was cold at Tirreno-Adriatico, and it was a hard week of racing. After that, I was tired for three days and barely touched the bike.”

Unlike many of the marquee names who are forced to skip the Italian monument, Pogačar vows to race. Pogačar only raced San Remo once, finishing 12th in 2020.

Also read: How much of Milan-San Remo do you really need to watch?

“Fortunately, things have improved since Thursday,” Pogačar told Het Nieuwsblad. “That won’t hold me back on Saturday.”

Even if a bit sick, Pogačar will start as a five-star favorite following his back-to-back victories at Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico.

UAE Emirates also bring Diego Ulissi and Alessandro Covi in a solid team for the season’s first monument.

Also read: Van der Poel confirmed to start Milan-San Remo

If he’s not worried about his health, he might be about his rivals.

Even though several big names won’t be there, Wout van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel are both showing up at the start line.

Van Aert is also on flying form, and though van der Poel will race for the first time this season, Pogačar isn’t buying the team line that he’s racing without pressure to perform.

“Wout van Aert is in exceptional form, but he is not the only rival,” he said. “There are so many riders who can go for the win. Every team has a man to keep an eye on.

“I never believe with Mathieu van der Poel that he is only here to train. I think he’s good. We’ll see on Saturday. I am happy to see him again.”