UAE Team’s Pogacar finishes 2nd at Slovenian National Championships - GulfToday

UAE Team’s Pogacar finishes 2nd at Slovenian National Championships


UAE Team Emirates’ Pogacar is cheered by fans as he rides towards the finish line at the Slovenian National Championships.

Tadej Pogacar narrowly missed out on a dream return to racing on Sunday at the Slovenian National Championships with Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) taking the win by just 10 seconds.

It was a fierce battle between the two pre-race favourites as they both shared a similar game plan to attack as the final ascent to the finish started. They caught the breakaway and emerged as the two strongest riders taking on the testing eight per cent summit finish with Pogacar sitting on Roglic’s wheel with 2km to go.

In the end, Roglic managed to distance himself and finished just ahead of Pogacar, with the UAE Team Emirates man coming in second place after three months since his last competitive race.

Pogacar said, “It was an amazing feeling to be back racing again and I’m pleased with a podium result. I felt quite good, all the training done during the lockdown has meant I could keep a good level of form. Roglic was very strong today and he deserved the win.”

“There is still some work to do and I’m hungry to get back racing with the team now and to show what we can do.”

Also in action for UAE Team Emirates was Pogacar’s teammate, Jan Polanc, who solidified himself as one of Slovenia’s top riders with a commendable top 10 finish.

Both rider’s attentions now turn to the revised UCI World Tour calendar which has been halted since March due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The season resumes with the Strade Bianche on Aug.1 in Italy.

Meanwhile, Pogacar expressed his delight on being included in one of the UAE Team Emirates’ core squads for the Grand Tours -- Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta Espana.

UAE Team Emirates reshuffled the squad and announced different sets of riders for all three events. Each line-up has mixed goals with a good balance of climbers, sprinters and versatile stage-hunters. The full squad listings are yet to be confirmed, but should become clear in the coming weeks.

Pogacar has been named in the squad, which will participate in the Tour De France.

“I was thrilled to find out last week that I will be part of the team’s roster who will be heading to Nice in August and racing in the Tour de France.

“The Tour de France is the biggest and most well-known race in the world and the pinnacle of any rider’s career. I’m super excited to be in the team and can’t wait to test myself against the best riders in the world at one of the hardest Tours,” said Pogacar.

“We’re now just few weeks away from the start of the revised UCI 2020 race calendar and I am looking forward to getting back to competitive racing. Knowing that I will be racing in the Tour de France means I can finally train with a specific goal in mind,” he added.

“I am feeling fit and strong and I am happy with the team at the moment. We’ve got a good mix of attributes for our Grand Tour line ups – having that balance of climbers, sprinters and stage hunters.

“It’s also great for the fans for racing to start again. I hope we can fill the gap that’s been left with no sport and get back to entertaining as many people as possible. The whole team is more motivated than ever with this new calendar,” he stressed.

“Since I arrived at UAE Team Emirates, I felt part of the family. I have many friends in the team and there has always been a good atmosphere with the riders and the staff. That’s also one of the main reasons why I recently renewed my contract with the team until 2024.

“The UAE Team Emirates is a long-term project with some strong sponsors, and I am proud to be part of it. It is also important to have some security for the coming years.

The staff have done an amazing job during the lockdown. A huge amount of work has been done behind the scenes and constant communication has been key in keeping us up to date with news about our races,” explained Pogacar.

“I started the season very strong and will be looking to recapture my form in the early races. The first month of the lockdown, I stayed in Monaco and trained inside but when the restrictions were eased in Europe, I moved back to my home country, Slovenia. The situation is much better there as I can train outside and see friends and family.”

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