Perhaps one of the most dangerous customers for Van Aert and Evenepoel: Tadej Pogacar (23) is in shape. He proved that in the GP of Montréal where he trumped Van Aert in the sprint. The Slovenian seems very relaxed. At his press conference, he mainly talked about his team, without going into too much detail about the competition.
Today at 13:47
But first about the course because Pogacar estimates the 266 km to be covered on Sunday to be very heavy. He clearly does not agree with connoisseurs who expect a sprint from a large group at the finish. “No, it’s been tough from the start. Before the first local round we have to cross Mount Keira. If it is driven hard there, that is an effort of 15 minutes. That means that the fatigue will hit the legs after just an hour. On the local laps there is hardly a moment to rest. After 260 km everyone will be really tired and then you still have to cross those steep climbs. It will be a long race where one after one riders drop out.”
The Slovenians only start with six in Wollongong and top players like Roglic and Mohoric are not present. Pogacar will have to rely mainly on Tratnik and Polanc. “Ah, I love riding with the national team. We are all friends and understand each other. That makes it easy and I’m sure we’re going to have fun on Sunday. Whether that also means that we will be looked at less, I don’t know. It is true that the Belgians, French, Italians, Dutch and British have more riders and all have strong teams. There is certainly pressure on them, but I think we have one of the better teams just as much. We can certainly compete with them for the medals.”
“Thinking of the gold medal on a perfect day”
Pogacar also received a question about the Belgians who start with two leaders, more specifically who he kept an eye on most, Van Aert or Evenepoel or someone else? “You will have to wait until Sunday to see how we are going to handle it. There’s no point in revealing that now. We just have to do our thing and especially look at ourselves and drive our own course. When the perfect scenario unfolds, one perfect day we can think about the gold medal. We’ll have to wait until Sunday, but I’m sure it will be an interesting race.”