The Slovenian superstar will need to maximise the performance of both his body and equipment if he is to beat defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard come July and has been spotted working on “various issues related to the preparation of the time trial,” according to Spanish media.
Pogačar was at the Luis Puig Velodrome in Valencia, popular for pros on training camp in Spain, visible in his skinsuit, full aero setup and new blonde hair on Tuesday afternoon ahead of kicking off his road campaign in March at Strade Bianche.
“Several members of the UAE team were dealing with aerodynamics issues, sanding the carbon, processing data on the computers, making measurements,” reported Marca.
It’s strange to think Pogačar would need work on his time trial abilities given he won the 2020 race during the final TT, but Vingegaard’s dominance was clear on the only time trial at last year’s Tour. Not only on the Côte de Domancy section was he stronger, but also on the flat opening half – amounting to a 1:38 winning gap over the Slovenian in second.
His debut at the Giro d’Italia will take in two individual time trials on a 37.2km uphill finish into Perugia on stage 7 and a flatter 31km race against the clock on stage 14 into Desenzano del Garda.
The Tour de France also takes in two individual time trials with a 25km test into Gevrey-Chambertin on stage 7 and of course the final stage race against the clock into Nice. It’s the first time the Tour will conclude with a time trial since the famous 1989 race that saw Greg Lemond snatch victory from Laurent Fingon with the smallest winning margin at the Tour – eight seconds.
Pogačar has noted in previous interviews that targeting the time trial perhaps isn’t the best way to beat Vingegaard and that the mountain stages and high-altitude terrain are still the key battlegrounds.
“I don’t need to beat him in this speciality, because he is very good and it is difficult to beat him there, but there are many other stages in which you can gain time and find opportunities,” Pogačar told Marca.
Until the 2022 Tour de France, the pair’s head-to-head record in time trials was six-two in favour of the Slovenian, but Vingegaard has been faster at the most recent two, including the dominant display from last season’s…