'I think he can do better than me': Eddy Merckx heaps praise on Tadej Pogačar

Belgian legend expects Pogačar to surpass his record in some races

Tadej Pogačar winning Il Lombardia 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eddy Merckx has said that he believes Tadej Pogačar "can do better than me" as the Slovenian superstar dominates the peloton.

Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has been called the new Merckx already, much like a number of riders who do consistently well, such as Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), but Merckx has had his say.

The Belgian legend was quick to point out that Pogačar has already won two Tours de France at the age of 23, as well as two Monuments. Merckx did not win the Tour until he was 24-years-old.

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Speaking in a piece by Tuttobici (opens in new tab), Merckx said: "I have heard many times 'this is the new Merckx' without the conditions being fulfilled, but with Tadej I think we are really there this time - he is 23 and has already won the Tour de France twice, incredible.

"Tadej is only at the beginning of his career, I think he can do better than me in some races. He is 23 years old and has already won the Tour de France twice and 30 races, that is unbelievable. 

"At 24, I had not even won the Tour. He is still at the beginning of his career, but I think he is doing better than me in some races. He is a great champion and we are going to enjoy him for many years to come."

But Pogačar still has a long way to go to get near the incomparable records of Merckx. Five Tours, five Giro d'Italia titles, three World Championships, five Liège-Bastogne-Liège titles, three Paris-Roubaix wins, seven Milan-San Remos, two Il Lombardias, and many more besides in a truly incredible career. 

So far, Pogačar has managed back-to-back Tour wins as well as victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia. He has also won Tirreno-Adriatico, UAE Tour, Tour of California, Volta ao Algarve, three stages of the Vuelta a España, and six stages of the Tour in his impressive list of 30 wins. 

Pogačar ended his season at Il Lombardia saying that he was extremely tired after a long year which started in late February and ended on Saturday, October 9. But he is still keen to win more as he sets his sights on the world title and the Giro in the future.

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