'Pogačar is our hero': Meet the Pogi Team sponsored by the yellow jersey who found cycling up Ventoux 'easy'

We spoke to the kids hoping to follow in Pog and Rog's footsteps

Pogi Team on Mont Ventoux
(Image credit: 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.

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"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."

"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.

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