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Tadej Pogačar to lead Slovenia’s world championships team

Matej Mohorič and Primož Roglič both missing from six-man team as they recover from illness and injury, respectively.

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Tadej Pogačar will lead Slovenia’s bid for its first rainbow jersey at the road world championships this month.

Notable omissions from the team, which was announced by the Slovenian federation Monday, include Matej Mohorič and Primož Roglič.

Mohorič confirmed this weekend that he would not be competing after contracting the Epstein Barr virus following the Tour de France. Meanwhile, Roglič is recovering from injuries he sustained in a crash early last week at the Vuelta a España.

Pogačar has been the dominant rider for Slovenia this season and is currently ranked first in the world. Though he was unable to defend his Tour de France title, he finished second and has racked up a number of big wins, including the Grand Prix Cyclist de Montréal this weekend where he out-kicked Wout van Aert.

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The 23-year-old is among the favorites for the rainbow jersey in the road race this year, along with Van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Michael Matthews, and Mathieu van der Poel.

The Slovenian federation named a 17-rider squad, with six to line up in the men’s road race and four for the women’s event. The country will also send squads for the men’s U23 and junior road races.

Pogačar will be supported by Jan Tratnik, Domen Novak, Jan Polanc, Jaka Primožič, and David Per. Meanwhile, the women’s team will consist of Eugenia Bujak, Urška Pintar, Špela Kern, and Urška Žigart.

The road race route in Wollongong, Australia features a big early climb up Mount Keira that could split the bunch into pieces. From there, the route heads into a lumpy finishing circuit around Wollongong that includes two climbs.

It is hard to predict whether the race will see a small group push clear or if some of the less pure sprinters will be able to regain contact with the main group before it starts fracturing again.