“I’m a good boy, I don’t take shortcuts” – .

“I’m a good boy, I don’t take shortcuts” – .

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Tadej Pogačar wants to go far, and he’s going to get there without taking any shortcuts.

Pogacar was the men’s rider of the 2021 season, collecting a handful of stage wins, a pair of monuments and a second Tour de France title.

With the Tour 2022 route revealed this week, the 23-year-old’s mind has turned to the new year and new goals. But first of all, he wants to set the record straight.

When Pogacar crushed this summer’s Tour with a series of sledgehammers, the inevitable questions surrounding his performance followed soon after. About three months later, they haven’t left – and Pogacar hasn’t changed his answer.

“I understand the situation and I know where my sport comes from. But I will never tire of saying that I see that cycling is on the right track to regain the confidence of the fans, ”Pogacar told Spanish media during the Tour route presentation this week.

“And I speak for myself – I’m a good boy who doesn’t take shortcuts. I hope the public will trust my performance and my track record.

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Pogacar’s performance across the Alps this summer and the murky backdrop for some of his UAE team staff led to the inevitable tough media questions of the Tour.

Pogacar stressed that his test results were more than enough evidence, and the questioning slowly faded.

Pogacar was back to his dominant ways less than three months after pushing back accusations in France, ending his season on a high note with a powerful win at Il Lombardia last weekend.

After also winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège this spring, the Slovenian star became the first rider since Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx to score two monuments and the Tour in one year.

Merckx was quick to praise the man many advertise his successor, saying “Pogacar can do better than me”.

Congratulations to “The Cannibal” put Pogačar in two minds – and eager to divert any other accusations that might come with the comparison.

« Bouh… [his words] give me goosebumps and they make me proud, ”said Pogacar. “If someone like him, who is unanimously listed as the greatest of all time, puts it that way about you… I ride hungry, like Eddy did in his day, and I will do it in a responsible and honored manner. by his words. “

No more classics, no more Merckxian

Whether Pogacar likes it or not, the comparison to Merckx and the Belgian’s legendary ability to devour a whole range of races and rivals almost at will is valid.

Winning Lombardy earlier this month gave Pogacar a thirst for more classic races. Like Merckx, Pogacar doesn’t want to be tied to just three-week racing.

“As a child, I participated in the Piccolo Lombardía and I finished seventh. From there, and other one-day tests, I know I can do well in these types of races, ”said Pogačar.

“In stage races I do my best every day, but I like the classics. It’s a different style of looking for victories, you never know what can happen, from one year to the next or with different routes. Maybe strength and instinct count more, within three weeks of recovery and gear count more. I still have to learn… even if it motivates me.

Grand tour doubled in 2022?

Pogacar is a death-cert for the 2022 Tour now he’s seen a journey who ticked all the right boxes.

The big mystery is what he will do around the Tour de France next year. With only three WorldTour seasons under his belt, Pogačar is keen to stretch his ambitions and his racing program far.

After reaching third place on his Grand Tour debut at Vuelta a España 2019, there is still a big Giro d’Italia-shaped hole in Pogacar’s track record – but his Tour focus means that he may have to wait a while longer.

Read also : Did ASO Pogacar put the Tour to the test?

The Giro-Tour double has defeated many recent Grand Tour riders and Pogacar does not want to be next.

“Out of the big three, I fix that the Tour will be included in my program,” said Pogačar. “For 2021, we had planned La Vuelta, although in the end I found myself very tired of the Tour and the Olympic Games. Who knows if in 2022 we will get there. I would find it easier to overtake the Tour and the Vuelta than the Giro and the Tour.

“The Giro demands a lot and can wear you out. I intend to return to Spain and discover Italy, but the Tour will be the focal point of my preparation.

Although Pogacar does not yet know his schedule for 2022, his attitude will remain the same.

Keep winning, keep having fun – and do it with no shortcuts.

“Every time I put on a bib I only think about giving my 100 percent, even if I’m not at my best,” he said. “I take my sport seriously, I want to be competitive and always win, even if it’s not normal to always win. “


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