Pogacar plots 2021 title haul with Tirreno-Adriatico next on the list
Published: Mar 10, 2021 04:23 PM
The world's hottest cyclist Tadej Pogacar is targeting his second tour win of the season when the all-star cast at the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race sets off on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in a video conference on Tuesday, Pogacar also said his main aims for the season were the defense of his Tour de France title, the Tokyo Olympics and the Vuelta a Espana.

The slightly built 22-year-old won the UAE Tour in February, in his first race since an astonishing debut Tour de France, where he seized the lead on the penultimate day.

"This year I'm going for the Tour, the Olympics and the Vuelta, maybe next year the Giro," said the UAE Team leader. "I feel good, want to do my best, we have a good team here." 

Pogacar was part of an elite group that broke away in the Strade Bianche one-day classic on Saturday, which was won by Mathieu van der Poel.

"I feel good after the Strade, and I'll be trying for the win here [at Tirreno-Adriatico]," said Pogacar.

"The UAE Tour gave us confidence for the coming Tours, I had a good winter and I'm improving," said Pogacar.

Also racing the Tirreno are Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal of Ineos, the men who won the Tours de France in 2018 and 2019.

The race starts on Wednesday at Lido di Camaiore in Tuscany, on the Mediterranean side of Italy, and ends Tuesday next week at San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast.

Before the Strade Bianche,  Pogacar, from neighboring Slovenia, had not raced in Italy since junior level and said he had a second reason to look forwards to the Tirreno.

"The food here is super good," he smiled.

Pogacar identified Van der Poel and Wout van Aert as some of his chief rivals for the title.

"With his power he [Van der Poel] can do well in the Tirreno, at the Strade it was full gas all day long so it was impressive how he finished. Sure he can do well here," Pogacar said.

Pogacar came to prominence in 2019 by winning the Tour of California and then taking three stages of Vuelta a Espana, where he finished third.

At the following year's Tour de France he became the youngest winner in over a century with a last-gasp victory that became on of the sports stories of the year.

UAE ripped up the rule book by offering their protege an extraordinarily long contract until 2026.

"It's something new in cycling to have a long contract," he said. "I feel comfortable here, I trust the team and they trust me, it means there's no stress or pressure. 

"I don't like sponsorship obligations so much but its just part of it." 

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