Tadej Pogačar has played down suggestions he could attempt a historic Grand Tour treble in 2024 and target the Vuelta a España after the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, insisting his goals in the second half of the season will depend on “what is left in the tank.”
Alberto Contador recently told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is convinced that Pogačar will go for an unprecedented ‘triple’ and try to win the Vuelta a España if he first wins the Giro and Tour.
Pogačar didn’t rule it out but prefers to cross off his goals one by one.
“I don’t think so, not for now anyway,” Pogačar told Cyclingnews and other media in Abu Dhabi, without flatly ruling out the idea.
“Let’s take it step by step and see how the season starts, how the preparation goes for the Giro and what’s left in the tank after the first part of the season.”
Pogačar took a brief break from his pre-season training to travel to Abu Dhabi for the announcement that MyWhoosh will sponsor the Road World Championships, showing off his new blonde hair colour.
The indoor riding app also sponsors Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates squad and is the platform and organiser for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships that will be held in October.
Pogačar could be tempted to take part in the Esports World Championships if he has some energy left in the tank, with wildcard places apparently available under a new race and qualification format. He raced on MyWhoosh during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Slovenian will only begin his racing season at Strade Bianche on March 2 and will not ride the cobbled Classics this spring so he can stay fresh and prepare for the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
“It’s a bit of a different approach this year. I start a little bit late but not too late. It’s still a busy schedule with all the preparation, recon and thinking about two Grand Tours,” he suggested.
“I usually like to race a little bit before the big goals but I think you can simulate racing in training, you can be ready for the first races. Strade Bianche will be the first big one-day race for other riders, too.”
If Pogačar completes the Giro-Tour double, he would be the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to do so. However, victory at the Giro d’Italia could mean he struggles at the Tour de France against Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič.
It seems to be a risk he is willing to take for a shot at a historic result.
“I want to do the Giro well and I think I’m then capable of doing the Tour on a good level then too,” he said, explaining how his calculated risks mean the road race at the Paris Olympics is only a subsequential objective.
“The Olympics is a one-day race and so I’m not planning all my calendar around the Games. My big goals are the Giro, Tour and then the World Championship,” he made clear.
Pogačar trained in Spain this week, where he crossed paths with Mathieu van der Poel and also did equipment testing on the track in Valencia.
Flying to Abu Dhabi for 24 hours was also part of the job of a team leader and Grand Tour contender.
“It’s a pretty good life being a cyclist; we shouldn’t complain too much,” accepting he has a privileged lifestyle doing the sport he loves.
“It’s like all the jobs. If you like it, you can still face obstacles and get over them.
“We stay away from home a lot and don’t see our family a lot, that’s the biggest downside of cycling. We just need to do what we need to do. When you don’t want to train, you need to train and stuff like that. For me, it’s a great job.”