Tadej Pogačar admits he is getting tired at a hectic Tour de France... but he thinks his rivals are too

The UAE Team Emirates man had his lead cut on stage 14 - but he still had a superior advantage

Tadej Pogacar
(Image credit: Getty)

Ahead of the stages that will decide the 2021 Tour de France, current leader Tadej Pogačar has confessed that he is feeling the effects of the intense racing.

The defending champion was in imperious form during the race's opening week, building an advantage before the first rest day that will probably prove to be insurmountable 

He showed a few signs of weaknesses on the double ascent of Mont Ventoux last Wednesday, and with the multiple Pyrenean stages on the horizon, the UAE Team Emirates rider cannot deny that he is feeling less like he did a week ago.

Guillaume Martin's brave attack on stage 14 means that he has rocketed himself up to second in the general classification and now sits 4-04 adrift of Pogačar, a reduction in the Slovenian's lead of 1-14.

It probably won't prevent the 22-year-old winning yellow for the second successive year, but he's cautious. 

Asked how much energy is left in the peloton, he said: "I think there's not much left. Especially after today, the first 20 minutes there were four guys attacking but not everyone was happy so then we had a lot of attacks coming.

"It was like this for two hours. I think everyone is getting tired.

"It's hard to make a breakaway and we will see in the next days how others feel.

"Maybe it's just me thinking that everyone's tired because I am a little bit, but we will see."

Although he has a substantial lead that can most probably only be eroded through him cracking under pressure or falling, he is aware of the fight for the final podium places.

"I think the top-10 is really dangerous because two to eight [they are really close]. I think it's really interesting and it's not hard to [move up] if you attack or go in a breakaway," he said.

Stage 15 sees the race finish in Andorra, the site of a memorable win in the 2019 Vuelta a España when he was just 20-years-old.

He added: "Tomorrow is a great day in Andorra. I have good memories from two years ago as it was my first Grand Tour win and my girlfriend was there. 

"I am always happy to go back to Andorra and tomorrow is an exciting stage. All of the next days are. I think we are ready. We are confident."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.