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The Slovenian is unbeatable in the last two editions of the Tour, and has been in dominant form at the start of the 2022 campaign.
At Ineos Grenadiers, the team where Wiggins won the Tour in 2012 with Team Sky, the leadership question continues to be unresolved. Egan Bernal only returned to outdoor cycling this week after a career-threatening crash earlier this year.
Richard Carapaz, third behind Pogačar at the Tour in 2021, is heading to the Giro d’Italia, leaving Dave Brailsford with just Adam Yates and Daniel Martinez to lead his team in July. Geraint Thomas, who has talked up his chances of leadership at the Tour, isn’t even certain of making the eight-rider selection.
Even Wiggins, who transformed himself from a track specialist into a grand tour contender, believes that he would struggle against Pogačar had the two riders clashed over three weeks.
“I might have struggled,” Wiggins said in a press conference Monday attended by VeloNews.“He is a great time trialist and he would have out-climbed me. He’s got that youthful exuberance where he’s got that naivety around him where does not really realize what he’s achieving.
“He’s willing to take risks and attack far from the finish and by the time I won the Tour de France, I was past that. I was becoming a bit of an old git and I had to be calculating and measure my efforts.
“At Sky we rode to my strengths. Had we done that, I think Pogačar would have attacked over the top and made it very difficult for us,” Wiggins said. “It would have been very difficult to challenge him and the other thing that we could have done, and I’m surprised Dave hasn’t done is throw a load of money at him, buy him, and send him to the Giro d’Italia.”
How to beat Pogačar? ‘You can’t trump talent with money’
When asked how Pogačar could be beaten at the Tour de France this summer, Wiggins admitted that few if any riders have the capabilities of ending the Slovenian’s current run.
The former UCI hour record holder added that he struggled to see Thomas mounting a credible and sustained bid for the yellow jersey and that only Primož Roglič brings the capacity to truly challenge Pogačar.
“It’s very difficult and whatever plan you come at you can’t trump talent with money,” he said. “And as Pogačar has proved, when the road goes uphill his extremities as an athlete are so special. We say these riders come along once in a generation but there seems to be a lot in this generation.
“I can’t see anyone, and as much as I’d like Geraint to win a second Tour, with the momentum he’s gaining with two Tour wins and dominance. Other than a crash you can’t see anyone dismantling him other than Roglič. I can’t see Ineos, other than Pidcock if he wants to throw his name in, if he wants to go down that road.”