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Tadej Pogačar kept the pedals turning with a spot of Christmas cyclocross.
The two-time Tour de France champion finished second at the Ciklokros Ljubljana on Monday as he shook off the cobwebs from a road camp in Spain and a pro cyclist-style Christmas day.
Pogačar has a background in ‘cross and won the Slovenian CX nationals in 2018.
The now-24-year-old made a final-hour appearance at last year’s Ljubljana ‘cross with his Pogi Team development project and promptly powered to victory.
Pogačar saw Monday’s title defense undone by reigning Slovenian national cyclocross champ Mihael Štajnar, who went away early and beat back Pogačar’s chase to score victory on the wooded circuit.
Brez višje sile dirka odločena. Kot v Straži bo zmagal Mihael Štajnar. Pogi sam na 2. mestu. Zaostanek se samo še povečuje, a tudi tretji je daleč zadaj. #ciklokros https://t.co/ROhpu8K5VB pic.twitter.com/a6BV1oGH3W
— Toni Gruden (@duledoz) December 26, 2022
Pogačar is expected to start his road season with a title defense at February’s UAE Tour before he dives into a stacked spring classics campaign.
The 2023 season will see the UAE Emirates captain as ambitious as ever, with goals at Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders, the Tour de France, Il Lombardia, and more.
— Prijavim_se (@Prijavim_se) December 26, 2022