June 13, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Tadej Pogacar warns of 'amazing' world champion in Liège: 'Although I miss Evenepoel in the start list'

Tadej Pogacar warns of 'amazing' world champion in Liège: 'Although I miss Evenepoel in the start list'

When the preferred candidate speaks, the huge media listens with great pleasure. Tadej Pogacar looks comfortable in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. A match that did not bring him much luck. Does he still fear his rival Mathieu van der Poel? “It's never fun to ride against him, because he's so strong,” laughs the Slovenian, who would have liked to see Remco Evenpoel at the start.

Comfortable, cheerful, with a slightly tanned face. No, Tadej Pogacar clearly did not face the hellish conditions in Flesch Walloon.

“I'm happy that I was able to train in the sun,” said the Slovenian. “It was 20 degrees there. It was terrible to see the boys suffering like that on TV. Although I think preparations wouldn't make much difference.”

Because the climbing goat does not miss the solidity of the course.

“The form is good for Sunday. Although the focus is already on the Giro and the Tour,” admits Pogacar.

“My preparation includes many long training stages and I am confident. Although I always want to be in races like the Flèche Wallonne, watching them on TV encourages me to compete again.”

Enough motivation, especially since Liège-Bastogne-Liège is his favorite classic.

I was hoping to finally have a duel with Evenpool.

Tadej Pogacar

In Liège, Pogacar meets Mathieu van der Poel. The Dutchman has no chance based on fitness alone, but the man talking is still on his toes.

“Obviously the course is more suitable for real climbers, but we all know he can do it all. What he does every year is amazing. He turns heads in the world champion jersey.”

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“Matteo chooses his races and then performs unbelievably. He's a really big-time racer. It's never fun to ride against him, because he's so strong,” the Slovenian says with a laugh.

He is looking forward to an open match with many early attacks. Although there is still one drawback: the absence of Remco Evenepoel.

“I spoke to him briefly after he went down. I'll definitely miss him on the main roster. I was hoping to finally get a duel, but Bad cycling sometimes“.

“When all the top players are there and you win, you feel more satisfied, but there are still a lot of competitors,” Pogacar concluded.

Riders are responsible for falling

The reason for Evenpoel's absence was also discussed: a severe fall in the Tour of the Basque Country.

“This year I have witnessed two of the most horrific falls from my chair,” laments Pogacar. “When riders are barely moving on the ground, you just hope that help will come quickly and that they will be okay.”

“Calls happen. You will still be part of the important sport in the future. We are going faster and faster every year. We are testing the limits, while we cannot explore all the stages.”

“Of course it's also the responsibility of the riders themselves. Then they blame the organizers, but they themselves are riding too fast.”