Tadej Pogacar to target Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2022

Team UAE Emirates Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 15th stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 191 km between Ceret and AndorreLaVieille on July 11 2021 Photo by Philippe LOPEZ AFP Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZAFP via Getty Images
Reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar has confirmed that he will race both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España this year.

The UAE Team Emirates leader has never embarked on two Grand Tours in a single season before but will make the step this year after making a career debut at the Tour of Flanders this spring.

Pogačar burst onto the scene in terms of Grand Tour racing at the 2019 Vuelta a España, where he won three stages and finished third overall behind compatriot Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who has won the past three Vueltas.

Pogačar won back-to-back Tours in 2020 and 2021 and, after confirming that the Giro d’Italia would not form part of his plans for this season, the 23-year-old confirmed that he would line up in Spain on August 18 for his second Grand Tour of 2022.

"I hope to do two Grand Tours this year, the Tour and the Vuelta," Pogačar told the media at his team's training camp in Spain. "You never know what can happen through the season but that's what I'd really like.

"The Vuelta was my first Grand Tour, and I was third place. I have really nice memories and I want to live those memories again."

Pogačar's spring campaign will once again kick off with the UAE Tour before he competes in Milan-San Remo for the second time in his career.

He will then make his debut in the Tour of Flanders, and while he played down his leadership qualities for the one-day race, instead, pointing to Classics specialists such as Matteo Trentin, he admitted that aiming to win all five of cycling's Monuments was a possible long-term goal. He will race all of them, bar Paris-Roubaix, this year.

His attempt at Flanders, he says, will be centered around gaining experience of racing on cobbles ahead of the Tour de France.

"It's a new challenge for me and for sure it will help for the Tour de France and the cobbles," he said. "To get the idea of the roads and the cobbles. You can do the recon after the race and the experience that comes with it.

"I'm really excited to be doing Flanders. I'll go for four Monuments, but that doesn’t mean that I'm focused on winning them all. In the future, I'd like to try all of them."

While Pogačar looks to branch out in terms of the races he targets, his UAE Team Emirates squad has strengthened too. George Bennett has been lured across from Jumbo-Visma, while João Almeida and Marc Soler have also joined from rival teams.

Pascal Ackermann and Alvaro Hodeg have added depth to the sprinting pool, but it's youngster Juan Ayuso who has turned heads. The 19-year-old joined midway through last year and many expect him to make an instant impact on the WorldTour. Both Ayuso and Pogačar have been training together in recent days and the Slovenian has tipped his Spanish teammate for the top.

"Ayuso is going to be super strong this year, already. He's super motivated and he's thinking of big goals already. If he has the opportunity this year I think he can grab it and show how good he is."

While Pogačar admits that the rate of his progression in the last few years cannot be maintained, he still wants to improve. Hence, his and UAE’s decision to target back-to-back Grand Tours for the first time in his already illustrious career.

“Every year there’s less progress but that doesn’t mean that there is less motivation,” he said.

“I still want to improve every year, but I know that it’s impossible to do it every season. Until now I’ve been getting better each year and that’s my motivation. You never know when you’re going to stop pushing more watts than the season before."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.