By Jonny Long
Standing on the side of the Tour de France route is a young lad who is the spit image of Tadej Pogačar.
Big shades, UAE Team Emirates cap, the only real giveaway is this teenager is about half the height of the defending champion and is not wearing the yellow jersey.
Instead, Matej is wearing a blue kit emblazoned with 'POGI TEAM' across his chest.
"He [Tadej Pogačar] made this club basically," calls out one of the parents as I chat to Matej, who is waiting with a couple of club mates on the roadside of Mont Ventoux for their eponymous team owner to arrive.
Pogi Team was born out of the Rog Ljubljana Cycling Association, which has been around since the 1950s, and was the club Pogačar started out with when he was nine years old.
"We're Pogi Team from Ljubljana. It's a good team," Matej announces proudly after being convinced to overcome his shyness. "There are a lot of young cyclists [in it], I think around 100, and Pogačar is our hero. It's nice to see him this high in elite cycling."
A photo posted by on
"It's something special," Matej continues, of seeing a compatriot in the yellow jersey of the Tour. "It's a big thing for our country. Yeah, we are small, but we are good at cycling. That's it."
Tadej is relatable to these guys and is also probably only 10 years older, which coincidentally is the number of yellow jerseys they think their team's philanthropist will win by the time he retires.
"Oh, yeah, definitely," they say during the second week as to whether they think Pogačar will defend his title, before adding how many more times they believe he will be on the top step of the podium in Paris: "I think over 10."
"I would like Roglič to win one," Matej then confesses, Slovenia being blessed with their first two Grand Tour winners in the same era.
As for the stage 20 time trial last year that saw the elder Slovenian usurped by the younger: "I was happy but I was confused. I love Roglič and I love Pogačar."
Training for the team takes place twice a week between March and October at a police training ground, but these youngsters are already testing themselves on the toughest of Tour de France climbs.
How did they find the Ventoux?
"Urrrr...easy, yeah, easy man!"
Well, looks like the next Pog and Rog are already on their way to the WorldTour.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Anna van der Breggen launches signature clothing collection
Double world champion adds new kit range to her list of projects in her final year as a pro
By Simon Smythe •
Specialized Expert Alloy Shallow bend road handlebar reviewed
Go-to handlebars if you like a curly drop
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •
'It’s been a nice run, but it’s time': Richie Porte says 2021 edition was his final Tour de France
The Australian leads his national team into the Olympic Games road race on Saturday
By Richard Windsor •
Mark Cavendish beats Tim Merlier to sprint victory in post-Tour de France crit
The British sprinter was on the podium again in the lucrative exhibition race in Flanders
By Alex Ballinger •
From Dulwich Park to Paris: The story of Fred Wright's debut Tour de France
The 22-year-old Brit, 'a child of the Herne Hill community', was the youngest rider in this year's race
By Jonny Long •
Health issues could force Dave Brailsford to step down as Ineos Grenadiers boss
The 57-year-old has been treated for cancer and heart issues over the past couple of years
By Jonny Long •
How much prize money did Tadej Pogačar get for winning the Tour de France?
There was around €2.3 million up for grabs in this year's race
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Mark Cavendish rues leaving Mørkøv's wheel on Champs-Élysées, but will he ride another Tour de France?
Cavendish remains on 34 wins but is all smiles as he wins green jersey in incredible comeback
By Jonny Long •
Tour de France 2021 team ratings: how did each team perform?
We rate the performances of each of the teams in the 108th editon of the Tour de France
By Stephen Puddicombe •
'I came for more than this': Mads Pedersen's Tour de France marred by injuries but sees green jersey on the horizon
The 2019 world champion wasn't able to build on his impressive form in last year's Tour
By Chris Marshall-Bell •