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Speaking ahead of the Grand Prix de Montréal, the two-time Tour de France winner congratulated his young Belgian counterpart as Evenepoel is on the cusp of becoming Belgium’s first grand tour winner since 1978.
“It was amazing to watch Remco’s really strong performance,” Pogačar said Sunday. “Remco showed a lot of character, and congratulations to him on the victory.
“Remco and I, we did some races together, but not so many, but for sure we will be seeing each other more in the races in the years to come.”
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The 23-year-old Pogačar is about 15 months older than Evenepoel, and the Belgian becomes the latest in a line of young, 20-something riders lighting up the peloton.
Pogačar, who is racing in Canada ahead of the UCI Road World Championships later this month, said it’s no surprise to see Evenepoel rise to the top so quickly.
“Everybody knows that he’s super strong and super talented. He can do everything, time trial, climb and ride on the flat,” Pogačar said. “I was expecting him to be good and he’s delivered on the expectations.”
Pogačar: ‘I think next year is going to be really interesting’
The peloton is emboldened by a string of young riders who are rising to the top faster than any generation in cycling history. Pogačar won two yellow jerseys before he was 22, and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) also won the 2019 Tour at 22.
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), 25, beat back Pogačar in July to win his first Tour in just his second Tour start.
Other young guns on the rise include 23-year-old Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), who at 19 becomes the youngest podium finisher in a grand tour in a century with his third place.
At 21, Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) is also confirming his GC talent, though he suffered on the final stage at the Vuelta to dip to seventh overall.
“I think next year is going to be really interesting,” Pogačar said. “I think even bigger competition is coming for the next couple of years.
“I also hope Egan Bernal will come back after his crash. We’re going to have a fantastic couple of years battling each other.”