Tadej Pogačar: I can’t tell Remco Evenepoel to race the Tour de France but if I was world champion…
The Belgian looks destined to race the Giro d'Italia in 2023 but until he confirms his plans there's always a chance of an Evenepoel, Pogačar, Vingegaard battle.
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The mouthwatering prospect of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), and Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) challenging each other at the Tour de France might have to wait until 2024 but until the Belgian rider confirms his aspirations of racing the Giro d’Italia the scenario of all three lining up for the Grand Depart remains a possibility.
On Thursday, at the unveiling of the 2023 Tour de France route, only Pogačar was present from the trio of potential winning Tour candidates with Evenepoel still enjoying his honeymoon and Vingegaard resting after a Tour-winning season.
Evenepoel’s team has been tight-lipped on the rider’s program for next year, although the Giro d’Italia seems the most likely target. Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere told VeloNews last month that his preference would be for his young leader to add a Giro title to his palmarès before turning his attention to the Tour 12 months later. Meanwhile, the Giro has done its utmost to attract the world champion’s gaze with a whopping 70-plus kilometers of time trialing within the 2023 route.
Also read: 2023 Tour de France Hommes route revealed: A ready-made race for climbers
At the route presentation, Pogačar was asked about the possibility of facing Evenepoel for the first time in a grand tour at next year’s Tour.
“Remco has to write its own story and put together its own program,” the Slovenian said. “I can’t tell him to come to the Tour. It’s his decision. He is world champion and one of the best riders. But if I was world champion, I would go to the Tour.”
Meanwhile Pogačar’s UAE boss Mauro Gianetti gave his opinion on ASO’s route for next year.
“In my opinion, it will be a very open Tour de France. This year we learned that the Tour de France is serious and that we need to take it day by day. In one day you can lose the Tour de France, so it’s important to have a good concentration, never lose your calm and always try and manage the race,” he said according to Het Nieuwsblad.
“We’re not the only team in the race. There are big strong squads like Jumbo-Visma, Ineos, and other big riders.