Tadej Pogačar will take part in the 2021 Tour de France with the number one on his back, but he is hesitant to place himself at the top of the list of contenders.
Tour 2021 is scheduled from June 26 to July 18, with the Tokyo Games starting less than a week later on July 18. The proximity of the peloton’s arrival in Paris at the end of the Tour and the start of the Games could prove pivotal in who will run for the yellow jersey and who will only tune their engine for Tokyo.
“It’s a bit early to say who is the favorite to win the next round,” said Pogačar Mark This weekend. “We’ll have to see who’s driving it, but if the Olympics start a week later… Then we can see that some will participate in the Tour, others will not, others will be able to do so in preparation… It will be a different year from the usual one. More normal than this year, but I think it’s too early to say who will be the Tour favorite.
Pogačar will defend his Tour title on a course that pushes the weight towards the time trial, with a total of 58 kilometers of time trial. Although the 22-year-old Tour-winning time trial at Les Planches des Belles Filles has proven that he is no slouch on a TT bike, Pogačar admitted he would rather see more explosive heights in which he excels so much in the 2021 route – but will not lose sleep over it.
“The runners make the race difficult,” said Pogačar, when asked about the course. “It can be very difficult if the riders decide to go super fast, but yes I like having more finishes in the mountains. But I think we will have enough opportunities, in three weeks, to make a difference. ”
Pogačar was the last in a line of young stars to take the WorldTour by storm, following in Egan Bernal’s footsteps last summer.
While Pogačar has said “anything is possible” when it comes to Remco Evenepoel’s Tour race prospect on his return from injury, the Slovenian sees the Grand Tour veterans as a bigger threat.
“I think Froome, as we saw at La Vuelta, is listening more and more,” he said. “He’s getting better and better. Dumoulin has also had a great season this year so they will come back and maybe even stronger on the bike than before.