Tadej Pogacar: Tour de France time trial performance was not unbelievable, just unexpected

UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogačar rode to Tour de France victory on tubeless Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 tyres
UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogačar captured the GC win at the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Before defending his title at the 2021 Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar finds himself defending the performance that carried him to victory on last year’s race. The Slovenian seized the maillot jaune from his compatriot Primož Roglič with a surprisingly emphatic win in the time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles on the penultimate day, a late turnaround to match some of the most dramatic in the race’s history.

In Code Yellow, a Dutch fly-on-the-wall documentary about Jumbo-Visma broadcast on NOS in December, both Roglič and teammate Tom Dumoulin seemed to evince a degree of disbelief at Pogačar’s performance. “How the f*** they did that?” Roglič asked, after conceding almost two minutes to Pogačar in the 36km test, while Dumoulin likened the 22-year-old’s riding style to that of “a miner.”

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.