Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar is a person to be believed, insists UAE Emirates team medical director


New Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar is “one of a kind” in terms of the ability to recover from grueling efforts, according to United Arab Emirates team medical director Dr Jeroen Swart, who says that cycling fans should believe in the young Slovenian.Pogacar – who turned 22 on Monday – became the youngest Tour winner on Sunday in more than a century thanks in large part to his sensational performance on the penultimate day of the time trial.

Pogacar turned a 57-second deficit to compatriot Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] in a 59-second lead on the 36.2km course that ended on La Planche des Belles Filles, in what has been hailed as one of the greatest hikes in sports history. Given cycling’s turbulent past, this performance naturally led some to wonder if we could believe what we were witnessing.

Swart, a South African who has worked in anti-doping and was the independent doctor overseeing Chris Froome’s independent physiological tests in 2015, thinks we can.

“I wouldn’t get involved in any aspect of this team if I wasn’t sure my reputation wasn’t secure,” Swart said. The cycling podcast. “I have access to all the blood profiles and I haven’t seen anything [of Pogacar] it worries me even from a distance.

“Tadej is someone who avoids using any form of medicine. Last year in the Vuelta when he crashed I could see he was in pain and I offered him paracetamol and he refused to take it. He said, “No, the pain is not bad enough to justify taking any medication. I don’t put anything in my body that I don’t need ”. This kind of thing reassures me a lot.

“Listen, we know the history of the sport. You can never be 100% sure of anything, as we have seen over the years. But certainly from what I can see and control and what I have seen, there is nothing that gives me the slightest pause.

Swart said Pogacar’s ability to recover, in particular, was good “off the charts”. “That’s really what differentiates the one-day race winners versus the grand tour winners,” he said. “My colleague Inigo San Millan did a metabolomics study on the guys on our team. It’s looking for markers for various physiological processes. And Tadej’s markers are absolutely out of the ordinary in terms of their ability to recover. He is truly unique in this regard.


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