The chances of seeing Tadej Pogačar target both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2024 appear to be fading, with the hilly Road World Championships in Zürich in late September offering him a chance to win the rainbow jersey for the first time in his career.
The 2024 Giro d’Italia route appears designed to tempt Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates to target a Giro-Tour double, with 20% less climbing than in recent editions and a route that suits the Slovenian’s strengths. However, even Pogačar would surely struggle to peak for the Giro in May, for the Tour de France in July and then again in late September for the World Championships.
Pogačar has promised to one day ride the Giro d’Italia, but with so many potential major goals, he has deferred any final decision and announcement of his 2024 plans until the UAE Team Emirates December training camp, with the team’s management having the final word on his race plans.
For UAE Team Emirates and their sponsors, the Tour de France has always been the biggest objective.
“The principal goals are the Tour, the Olympics and the Worlds. That’s in chronological order, not importance,” Pogačar told La Gazzetta dello Sport at the weekend. He was speaking at the annual party organised by his agents A&J Sport, before he gets back into serious training for 2024.
“Riding the Giro is one of my dreams but I can’t say if I’ll ride. I haven’t spoken to my coaches at UAE Team Emirates, we haven’t discussed the details of what I’ll do. I’ll decide my race programme in December. But I could have too many obligations to include the Giro.”
Pogačar explained the logic behind his eventual decision.
“The Tour is a bit bigger. If you want to have a chance of victory, you’ve got to focus on it. The Giro deserves respect and that’s why I have to understand if I can be at my best to ride it. I’ve ridden the Tour four times and won it twice. If we talk about Grand Tours, the Tour is the big goal each year.”
Pogačar’s multitude of talents allow him to win the biggest Classics and other races, making it difficult for him to limit his targets through the season. In 2023 he won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne before fracturing his wrist at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
His injury undermined his Tour de France training and he eventually cracked in the Alps, with Jonas Vingegaard going to win a second yellow jersey. The two stars are different riders with different…