Fourteen-year-old Tadej Pogačar was a secret agent
An unearthed school film involves guns, bikes and a plot line more closely guarded than the nuclear missile launch codes.
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If I told you how I found Tadej Pogačar’s elementary class film, I’d have to kill you.
That could be a line of dialogue from the spy thriller starring the (then) future two-time Tour de France winner. That is, if there was any dialogue in it.
But yes, the long and short of it is Tadej Pogačar, aged (probably) 14, once starred in a film about secret agents. And it’s kind of great.
Before the Slovenian cracked on the Col du Granon he seemed invincible and this deep cut from Pogačar’s formative years would have been proof that no, he isn’t good at everything.
But now? After he’s been proven human? It feels endearing, a snapshot into his life pre-being a famous cyclist, even if he isn’t going to be putting an Academy award next to the Tour trophies on his mantlepiece any time soon.
The film, currently sitting in 13,000 views after 9 years, begins with two students dressed up as secret agents escorting a teacher into a classroom, another one appears carrying a tray of drinks as they continue their unhurried journey down the corridor. It’s a slow-burner of an opener, lasting for more than two of the total eight minutes of run time.
The teacher sits down at her desk. The James Bond theme is playing. A child CARRYING A GUN enters the room, steals an envelope off the teacher’s desk and jumps out of the window.
The door opens for a second time and a bundle of energy bursts into the room. It’s Tadej Pogačar, spinning in, sliding to a stop in front of the teacher, who then points him in the direction where the thief went.
Secret Agent 011 Tadej Pogačar is now on the case. The music switches to the Pink Panther theme tune. A boy called Bruno (Secret Agent 014) is mixing liquids in a classroom laboratory. Tadej motions for him to bring him something. As Bruno looks through the cupboard Tadej has only his head poking around the door, watching exasperated as an item is retrieved. It’s an apple, which is handed to Tadej who then bolts.
Outside there is a locked parking area containing the students’ bikes. Tadej runs in and jumps on one. The scene cuts to another secret agent holding a dog, which Tadej zooms past, hopping off the curb.
Tadej sprints past the two so-called ‘bad girls’ waiting by a building and absolutely nails the narrow corner as he continues his hunt for the thief.
We cut to the next scene. Tadej has found the thief and is in pursuit. Emerging from a crossroad comes a whole mess of kids on bikes, blocking the path of the other criminal child who is STILL HOLDING A GUN.
The thief points the gun at Tadej. Quivering as he looks down the barrel of the weapon, using every ounce of acting in his small body, Tadej drops the bike, holding his arms up before in a flash he grabs the gun. The scene fades to black.
The children/secret agents cross the street, Tadej having reprimanded the thief and now pointing the gun at his head. The thief is handed over, presumably to be locked away for a million years.
Back in the classroom and the envelope has been recovered. The teacher pulls a piece of paper out. It’s a goodbye note from the class of 9b. Tadej’s name is signed at the top.
Creative, thrilling, confusing. It’s fun to see Tadej’s early passion for cycling (even when chasing down gun-toting child criminals). A snapshot into his life before the peloton, a sense of a superstar’s normality.
Two final questions. Was this the only film Tadej appeared in? We hope not. And surely this is not the only cinematic effort from a member of the professional peloton? We’d so dearly like to see any others out there floating about…