Tadej Pogacar collapsed on the Col du Granon on Wednesday. Does he already have an explanation for that dip? His musette would have been found at the foot of that climb: virtually untouched.
“Maybe I ran out of fuel, but I also had to parry a lot of attacks on the Galibier,” the Slovenian replied. “That cost me a lot of energy.”
“It was like I had to sprint there 10 times, when Primoz and Jonas actually had to do that 5 times each. I fucked myself there and maybe I should have eaten more there.”
Attacking, that is the key word for Pogacar in the closing week. “I have to seize every opportunity. I have to attack on every climb. I don’t want to regret in Paris.”
Doesn’t he go for one clear attempt at a knockout? “I have a big backlog and the legs determine everything. If I see an opportunity, I grab it. And there are many opportunities this week.”
On Alpe d’Huez and Mende, Jonas Vingegaard stuck to his behind like glue.
“That motivates me even more. He is the man I have to beat and he is super strong. But a lot can happen in 3 days. Everyone is mentally and physically tired.”
In terms of teammates, Jumbo-Visma and UAE are now on an equal footing: it is 6 against 6. “We have already experienced how difficult it is without 2 teammates. It will not be easy for Jumbo-Visma.”
In 2020, Pogacar achieved another turnaround in the time trial on the penultimate day. Is he counting on the same scenario in Rocamadour on Saturday? “No, I have to make up for my deficit before the time trial.”
“Jonas is a good time trialist. I’ve explored the time trial twice, but I wouldn’t gamble to make it up there. I’m doing everything I can to do that before the time trial.”
Perhaps Ineos Grenadiers can become an ally. “I don’t see it that way. If they attack, that’s good for me, because then Jumbo also has to work. But for the time being Ineos is racing for the podium. I drive my own course.”
“But it’s not the end of the world if I don’t reach Paris in yellow,” he added. “A 2nd place isn’t bad either, although I’m still thinking about the yellow. And I’m not giving up.”