Dubai: UAE Team Emirates’ star rider Tadej Pogacar has promised he and his team will stop at nothing in their pursuit of Tour de France glory even if it means pushing themselves to extreme limits as action resumes with Stage 10 of the Tour de France, on Tuesday.
Pogacar came up with a brilliant ride on Stage Nine on Sunday to lurk 44 seconds off leader and fellow Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic in the General Classification, even as defending champion Egan Bernal of the Ineos Grenadiers team also looms.
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Monday was the first of the rest days for teams before they turn their attention to Tuesday’s Stage 10 — a flat trip from Ile de l’Oleron to Ile de Re over 168.5km.
“We are strong enough to fight for the yellow, and to show this we have already won two stages,” Pogacar said on Monday’s off day. “We’ve got a strong rider in David de la Cruz and much is expected of him. He is looking good and he is on his way back. [Alexander] Kristoff too did well with that stage win on Day One. I believe we are a good team and we have our chances to end well,” the 21-year-old Slovenian rider insisted.
Sunday witnessed an incredible performance on the last Pyrenees stage of the Tour that saw the 21-year-old debutant Pogacar win his first-ever career Tour stage by the barest of margins and claim a place of pride in the annals of cycling history.
“The first week of the Tour has been tiring both physically and emotionally. During Stage One, I was close to my home and Kristoff went on to win the yellow and I was happy for the team. After that, we have improved, both on an individual level and then as a team. And for me personally, the last two days have been amazing as I try and get to another level,” Pogacar said.
We’ve got a strong rider in David de la Cruz and much is expected of him. He is looking good and he is on his way back. [Alexander] Kristoff too did well with that stage win on Day One. I believe we are a good team and we have our chances to end well
The Slovenian won the 153km ninth stage from Pau-Laurns of the Grande Boucle by outsprinting a group containing Jumbo-Visma rider Roglic alongside Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi, defending champion Bernal and Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) to become the youngest Tour stage winner of the 21st century.
Known for his calm and calculated nature, Pogacar’s win on Sunday was the second stage triumph for the UAE Team Emirates outfit following Kristoff’s opening stage win when the race was flagged off on August 29.
“Tuesday is going to be a tricky stage for sure with the winds playing a role especially during the final parts. It will be a hard one than compared to the other stages,” Pogacar said.
“But then, we also have a good and experienced bunch of riders in our squad. The only hope is that it shouldn’t be that windy and we can expect a strong finish. Yes, there are some unknown stages to me, but we have great sports directors who are there to guide us through. If my form stays the same as it has been in the past two days, then I can try and go for the podium as we enter Paris.”