Tadej Pogacar: what future?
Many cyclists only dream of being able to win at least one stage of the Tour de France in their career, let alone the entire Grand Buckle.
Few in history have succeeded in this goal, to be precise 64 cyclists in a total of 108 editions. Even fewer extraordinary talents have managed to do it twice in a row and as young as 20 years old.
Today Tadej Pogacar is 24 years old, two great Tour victories behind him and many other prestigious successes such as: Strade Bianche, the Liège - Bastogne - Liège, the UAE Tour, and the Tirreno Adriatico, but he remains the same humble, shy, and friendly guy who had already answered our post-Tour 2020 questions.
His hunger for victory, his motivation, his talent, and his legs have not changed a bit since that day. The only thing that has changed is definitely the media attention the world has for him.
It's one thing to show up at the starting lines of the Tour de France with the possibility of being able to win it, it's another to show up with the pressure on him to be the two-time defending champion and having to perform according to expectations in order to aim for a third win in a row.
How does Tadej handle this pressure?
Talking with him certainly reveals three aspects that can help us answer this question:
- His personality.
- His team.
- His talent.
Great talents don't just have legs, they also have a calm mind. As they say, "mind heart and legs" are the three basic factors to be able to be a very successful cyclist. Tadej's humble, quiet, calm and relaxed spirit is what allows him not to give in under the enormous pressures he is under.
Sometimes one ever wonders if he is aware that he is who he really is. He certainly is, but his tremendous emotional intelligence and personality allow him to extricate himself from logics and mechanisms that might cause other runners crack under stress.
The second factor to consider is definitely his team. The UAE Emirates team riding Colnago bikes is definitely one of the strongest and most valuable teams at the moment. It has been restructured over the years precisely to ensure that this young star rider has a team capable of supporting and helping him, and to date we can say that the result has been fully achieved.
Indeed, we are all curious to see how this team will perform in support of the young Slovenian at the Grand Boucle 2022. Talents such as Soler, Ackermann, Almeida and others are certainly names that do not disfigure alongside that of the two-time Tour de France champion.
The third factor to consider is definitely legs. When you are a unique and absolute talent like Tadej the pressure becomes relative because he has the knowledge and confidence he can withstand and handle attacks from the peloton and other favorites.
Just the Tour?
While as of today the most imminent goal for Pogacar is definitely the Tour de France 2022, the future is still long and bright for him. So what will be his future goals?
On the agenda is the "triple crown" i.e. also winning the other two Grand Tours of the season, The Giro D'Italia and the Vuelta, then aiming for the classics.
Of course, many he has already won. Think Strade Bianche, Lombardia and others, but there are still goals such as the Tour of Flanders , Paris Rubaix, etc. that he will want to go and add to his Palmarès.
But where does his motivation come from?
How can one still be motivated after winning virtually everything? The secret of his motivation is not to look for a single goal, a single objective that then once achieved makes one lose that hunger, that competitive nastiness that today's cyclists need so much; but to try to improve himself every day and to wake up in the morning to do well what he is capable of doing: pedaling.
We think that's really Pogacar's secret: not focusing on a single goal, but the enjoyment of cycling every day and trying to constantly improve.