He knows very well, Tadej Pogacar, that his breathtaking performances on the Tour de France sow doubts. In a sport where the feat is no longer allowed without dragging with him sometimes unanswered questions, the man who stunned the Tour in less than 10 days is the subject of questions. How can the one Joop Zoetemelk already compare to Eddy Merckx be so strong? In a short video press briefing this Monday afternoon, during the first rest stage, the yellow jersey provided an answer to those who think that all this is not very normal.
“To those who do not believe in me, confides the young prodigy already winner of a Tour de France under 22 years old, I always try to show who I am and that I am strong, quite simply. I can just tell them that I go through a lot, a lot of doping controls. On Sunday alone, I had three. Three checks in a single day: two checks before the stage and one after the finish. The results of these tests are not disclosed. During the ten other minutes of his conference, somewhere in a hotel in Tignes kept secret, the yellow jersey of the Tour briefly recounted his first week of racing. “This Tour has been really difficult from the start,” says the Slovenian. There is a lot of passion and nervousness in the peloton. Myself, I fell in the early days. Fortunately without seriousness and it did not have any consequence. “
“Saturday, I felt really great”
On his number in the Alps, Pogacar says: “Saturday I felt really great. It was not as cold as Sunday which was, for many, the worst day to spend on a bicycle. But everything went well for me. I wanted to show that me and my team were strong. But I didn’t think I would be in this position after a first week of racing. ”
Last year, the Slovenian took the yellow jersey 24 hours before Paris. From now on, he must defend it two weeks before the Champs-Élysées. It changes the situation a bit and he knows it. “I don’t know why everyone keeps repeating that the UAE team is bad. I have the yellow jersey and the team is doing a fantastic job. I know I have a very strong team with me, one of the strongest in the peloton. She will do everything to defend this jersey and she will do it well, I have no doubt. I trust my partners and I am even proud of them. I also have confidence in myself and I am also, frankly, proud of myself even though I am not a proud boy. And I can tell you that so far everything is fine. These are words that may not reassure his opponents, if there are any, who are still aiming for final victory in Paris.