Saturday, 28 January 2023
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Five Fast Factors with… UAE Team Emirates

109th Tour de France 2022 - Stage 18

The Sons of Mauro Gianetti look unfreakingbelievably loaded this year. Is that all there is to talk about? Not so fast…

Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images

1. What does Poga膷ar鈥檚 career stand for now?

Look, there is no point in talking about whether Tadej Poga膷ar will win the Tour. To me, what will be interesting this season is, whatever he does, what will it mean for cycling going forward? Huh? OK, stay with me here. Let鈥檚 say he does the robust spring classics campaign he aims to do, and then wins the Tour. Does that mean the top Tour guys are all free to race wherever they want? Or if he loses the Tour, is that a watershed moment for all-round cycling, in a bad way? Just when we were thinking about our heroes broadening their horizons, now they have to think twice about it?

Pogs will be under serious pressure again from Jonas Vingegaard, who is part of this same conversation because he aims to do about as Tour-centered a program as you can have, leading into July. If it works… I dunno, maybe it changes stuff. Maybe we are back to the bad old days of hyper-specialization. Or maybe we just recognize that Vingegaard is a special talent in three-week races and Pogs is just a different guy. Probably we overreact and insist on Tour contenders racing no more than five days before July. Also they shouldn鈥檛 eat, well, anything.

77th Tour of Spain 2022 - Stage 15

Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images

2. Is Jay Vine the signing of the winter?

Sweet luv-a-Christ… what鈥檚 gotten into Vine?!? There鈥檚 a temptation to see him as having hopped off his Zwift and straight into a breakaway at the Vuelta… which isn鈥檛 quite how his career has gone, although it鈥檚 not that far off 鈥 he rose to prominence through the Zwift Academy in 2020 and got a contract, but then he won the 2022 esports world title too, and not long after that… was in a breakaway at the Vuelta. Anyway, he鈥檚 27, so he鈥檚 both a late bloomer and a fast riser. He did crash out of that race late, taking a KOM title off the table, but he鈥檇 already finished the Vuelta in 2021, got second in the Tour of Norway, and then won two stages in Spain, while becoming a daily protagonist in the mountains. That buzz got him a contract with UAE, and he鈥檚 already added an Aussie Nats ITT title to his…

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