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‘Two Grand Tours a year is not appropriate’ -up ruled out

'Two Grand Tours a year is not appropriate' -up ruled out thumbnail
Rob Hemingway

Tadej Pogacar will not be doing a Grand Tour double-up in 2023, according to his UAE team manager Joxean Fernandez Matxin.

Pogacar, a two-time Tour de France champion at just 24, put in a huge effort at this year’s Tour to try and wrestle the yellow jersey from Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma), but ultimately in vain.

As such, the Slovenian was pulled from the start line of the Vuelta a Espana, and looking ahead to next year, the UAE bosses are once again wary of over-exerting their star rider and detracting from his sole focus of regaining the Tour crown.

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Speaking to Slovenian outlet Siol, Fernandez Matxin said: “The Tour de France is the priority.

“Next year’s Giro ends just about three weeks before the start of the Tour. Competing in two such races in such a short space of time is a big thing.

“My opinion is that at his age, at 24, two grand tours a year is not appropriate.

“If the gap between the Giro and the Tour was five or six weeks, it would be a possibility, but three weeks is too short, it’s complicated. It’s not impossible, but it would have consequences in the future.

“I have a program in my head for all cyclists. I spoke with Tadej and I have an idea.

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“It is important to make the best calendar for all riders to achieve as much as possible. Tadej’s career is important and we look to the future accordingly.

“It must be understood that we are looking for the possibility that in every race he competes there is a chance for him to win.”

UAE are keenly aware of the talent they have on their hands, and Fernandez Matxin paid tribute to the unique quality of the Slovenian, who capped off his season with a win at Il Lombardia.

He said: “He [Pogacar] is the most versatile rider I have ever known. On top of that, he has a great character. If I were to rate it on a scale of 10, I would give him a 12.

“I can say that Tadej is the best in these years. He started this season with a win in February and ended it with a win.

“He is a sprinter, a hill climber, and a specialist in one-day races and three-week races. He’s perfect.”

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