Tadej Pogačar: 'With his power Mathieu van der Poel can do well overall in Tirreno-Adriatico'

Slovenian Pogačar is using seven-day race in Italy as a build up to his defence of his Tour de France title

(Image credit: BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Tadej Pogačar said he could see Mathieu van der Poel compete for the overall classification at Tirreno-Adriatico, after the Dutch champion's incredible riding at Strade Bianche.

Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) managed seventh place in Siena after he was unable to follow Van der Poel's (Alpecin-Fenix) amazing attacks.

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When asked about Strade Bianche and Van der Poel in a press conference, the 2020 Tour de France champion said: "I was quite satisfied with my performance at Strade Bianche in a super hard race, full gas all day.

"It was even more impressive to see Mathieu going on attacks like this when we were almost finished. So, for sure, with his power he can do well overall in Tirreno-Adriatico, but we will see."

Pogačar is using Tirreno-Adriatico as a key build up race for his main goal of a title defence at the Tour de France after he stole the race away from fellow Slovenian, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), on stage 20 last year.

"This year I’ll do the Tour de France, Olympics and probably the Vuelta, so maybe next year it’ll be finally time for the Giro," Pogačar said.

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Pogačar started his season at his team's home race of the UAE Tour where he took the overall by 35 seconds ahead of defending champion, Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers).

He comes to Tirreno-Adriatico facing Yates' twin brother Simon (BikeExchange) who is  the defending champion of the race.

Pogačar added: "I’ve only ever done stage races at U23 and Juniors previously here [in Italy], I love racing here though, the food is super-good, and the fans are also fantastic."

"I’m coming here in good shape, I just hope for some solid results and will try for the win. We’ve got a great quality team here too."

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