Pogačar enters final phase of Tour de France preparation at Isola 2000 after strong Giro finish

Cycling - Tour de France - UAE Team Emirates Practice - Koge, Denmark - June 29, 2022 UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogacar during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Tadej Pogačar is putting the finishing touches to his Tour de France preparation at altitude at Isola 2000. Joined by most of the UAE Team Emirates squad, Pogačar has been training since June 4 and will stay until Monday. This camp is part of the plan outlined by his team at the start of the season.

The Slovenian spent a week at home in Monaco after winning the Giro d’Italia before heading to Isola 2000. Despite the demanding Giro, Pogačar has remained fresh. “What I can say is that he didn’t come out of the Giro tired of legs or tired of mind,” UAE Team Emirates sports manager Matxin Joxean Fernandez told BiciPro. He added that a week without formal training was an essential part of Pogačar’s post-Giro strategy.

While Pogačar focused on his high-altitude training, other team members were racing elsewhere. Juan Ayuso competed in the Critérium du Dauphiné before a crash forced him out. Adam Yates and João Almeida secured first and second at the Tour de Suisse. They have since joined Pogačar at the UAE camp. The only team member missing from the camp is Nils Politt, who is currently racing at the German championships.

Matxin confirmed to Cyclingnews that Pogačar would be supported at the Tour by Yates, Almeida, Ayuso, Politt, Marc Soler, Tim Wellens, and Pavel Sivakov. Notably, none of the riders who accompanied Pogačar at the Giro will compete in July’s race.

Isola 2000, featuring as the summit finish on stage 19 of this year’s Tour, is a fitting location for the camp. Given the shift of the Tour’s finish from Paris to Nice due to the Olympic Games, the camp allowed Pogačar to reconnoitre the final four stages. “We saw the last four stages, and we were almost always able just to leave by bike from the hotel,” Matxin said. “In some cases, we did the whole stage; in others, only the finale to avoid too much car travel.”

The training camp has also incorporated work against the watch. Pogačar’s strong time trial displays at the Giro demonstrated his progress, but the final stage of the 2024 Tour, featuring the climbs of La Turbie and the Col d’Èze, will be another challenge. “We’ve tested some new things on the bikes, mainly lightening them, and did time trial testing,” Matxin noted. “Small things, but they make a difference.”

After two nights back in Monaco, Pogačar will head to Florence on Wednesday for the Grand Départ. “I see him motivated, I see him calm, I see him happy. I can’t say anything negative because there is nothing negative,” Matxin concluded. “And even though we have a team of rockstars, they all believe in Tadej as the leader for the Tour.”

Main photo credit: Gonzalo Fuentes

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