After winning the Slovenian Cyclist of the Year award for the fourth time, Tadej Pogačar has said that he’s back in training but “not in full swing yet” as he looked ahead to the 2024 season.
Pogačar beat Giro d’Italia winner Primož Roglič and Gravel World Champion Matej Mohorič to win the title, handed out on Tuesday in Ljubljana. He’ll face off against new Bora-Hansgrohe signing Roglič at the Tour de France next year, his main goal of the season.
However, speaking to Slovenian website Siol, Pogačar admitted that he’s thankful he doesn’t pick his calendar and goals, given he wants to take on – and win – so many major races.
“If I were to compile the calendar myself, there would be too few days in the year and too few hours in the day, so I’m quite happy that someone else is compiling my schedule,” he said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be on the scene very long, because I would end my career too quickly.”
Pogačar has yet to reveal his calendar for the 2024 season and, barring the Tour de France, has yet to give any indication as to the races he’ll take on from the start of the year through the spring.
Since rounding out his season with a third Il Lombardia title in as many years, Pogačar has headed to Asia for the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium (October 29) and Tour de France Saitama Criterium (November 5).
Now, he’s back to training ahead of the new season, with upcoming off-season activities including the Beking charity cycling criterium in Monaco on November 26 and a cyclocross race in Ljubljana on December 26.
“We’re not in full swing yet, but the engine is already starting,” Pogačar said of his return to training.
“[I hope] to try to improve even though I know it will be difficult,” he said, when asked what will motivate him in 2024. “I will try to stay at the level I have been and look for some new challenges. Next year is the World Championships. The route [in Zürich – Ed.] is very beautiful, so there will be enough challenges. This drives me forward – the Giro, Tour, Vuelta, Monuments, everything.”
Pogačar – who last year won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, two stages of the Tour de France, and Il Lombardia – also reflected on his 2023 campaign.
He said that the Tour, where he ended up second once again to Jonas Vingegaard, was one of “peaks and valleys” after a long recovery from his broken wrist sustained at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“This year there were many moments that will…