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Pogacar begins Tour de France build-up with Sestriere training camp

Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2021 - 107th Edition - Liege - Liege 259,1 km - 25/04/2021 - Tadej Pogacar (SLO - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Vincent Kalut/PN/BettiniPhoto©2021
Pogacar after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has confirmed he will forgo both the Tour de Suisse and the Critérium du Dauphiné in the run-up to his title defence in July.

Like his rival and compatriot Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), the Slovenian will miss out on both of the traditional Tour warm-up races next month, instead choosing to take in a training camp in Sestrière in the Italian Alps and then race on home roads in Slovenia. 

Pogačar arrived at Sestrière this week, heading out for his first ride on Wednesday, and will stay for almost three weeks. 

After the camp, he will head to his home country to race the five-day Tour of Slovenia – won last year by teammate Diego Ulissi and twice in the past by Roglič. 

His UAE Team Emirates squad will be joined at the race, which starts on June 9, by fellow WorldTour teams Astana-Premier Tech, Team BikeExchange, and Bahrain Victorious.

The 22-year-old will also take part in the Slovenian National Championships later in June, with the time trial falling on June 17 and the road race coming three days later. 

Last year he lost out to Roglič in the latter, before reversing the result in the former.

"I’m really excited to get back to racing," Pogačar said. "I have had a busy time since my last race at Liège but I feel good and ready to aim for my next targets.

"Last time I raced the Tour of Slovenia my teammate Ulissi won it, so UAE are the defending champions. I’m pleased to go back there: it’s a race I’d dearly love to win."

Last season, Pogačar rode the Dauphiné in the build-up to the rescheduled Tour, taking fourth overall before battling with Roglič at the Grand Tour. He took the yellow jersey on the penultimate day's time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles, overhauling the Jumbo-Visma leader with a stunning ride to become the youngest Tour winner since Henri Cornet in 1904.

So far in 2021 he has taken six victories, winning a stage and the overall at both the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, a stage at Itzulia Basque Country – where he finished third behind winner Roglič – and his first Monument title at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he outsprinted an elite group to the finish line.

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