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Tadej Pogačar won’t easily give up the yellow jersey he made his own.
Pogačar confirmed to Gazzetta dello Sport this week that the hunt for a third Tour de France title will be the center of a 2023 calendar packed with ambitions from the spring monuments to the August worlds.
“After second place this year, my objective is to recapture the Tour,” Pogačar told the Italian outlet.
Pogačar made it his mission to avenge his dramatic Tour de France defeat as soon as the peloton reached Paris this July. The recently revealed parcours for the 2023 “Grande Boucle” had the Slovenian purring with satisfaction and stoked his fire further.
The UAE Emirates captain reconfirmed Tuesday to Gazzetta that the Tour is his three-week priority and that a Giro d’Italia debut will have to wait.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to challenge for the maglia rosa,” he said. “It’s a race that I love, it fascinates me. But circumstances have made the Tour de France my priority.”
Pogačar was blown out of the yellow jersey by Jonas Vingegaard in brutal fashion this summer.
The Slovenian’s second-place in the race he won the past two times made for the one divot in a near inch-perfect season that saw 16 victories spanning eight months.
“I’d be happy to reach a similar performance to my last seasons, when I managed to win big races,” Pogačar said. “Of course, the objective is to try again for the Tour, but it won’t be easy.”
Taking a second taste of Tour of Flanders
Pogačar has rewritten the definition of a modern grand tour challenger with his all-encompassing approach to the calendar.
The 24-year-old again barreled through a series of monuments and one-day races this year, scoring a huge solo win in Strade Bianche and a second-straight victory at Il Lombardia.
The story that perhaps gets most overlooked in the Slovenian uber-star’s glittering season is the one that is also the most hype-worthy.
Pogačar lit up his Tour of Flanders debut in a barnstorming battle with Mathieu van der Poel across the cobbles and climbs of De Ronde this April. And now baby-faced Pogačar has got a taste for the beer-splattered bergs of Flanders, he wants some more.
A return to the cobblestone monument is one of many one-day priorities in the coming calendar for Pogačar.
“There’s a desire to make up for my fourth place this year at the Tour of Flanders,” he said.
“San Remo is another one because I haven’t managed to win it yet. And then there’s the world championships, it’s a race I’m really missing and in 2023 it will be a nice challenge, with the novelty that the rainbow jersey is up for grabs in the summer.”
The 2023 worlds will be hyped as the “mega worlds,” with 13 disciplines on show between August 3-13 in Glasgow, marking a return to the traditional worlds slot after nearly two decades placed in late September or October.