Tadej Pogačar explored the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, or, perhaps more importantly, the sections of pavé set to feature in this year's Tour de France yesterday, sharing an image to social media of a reconnaissance ride he completed.
The two-time Tour de France winner continued his experience of cobbles riding just a day after finishing fourth in an eventful Tour of Flanders, though he claimed he could still feel the effects from Sunday's race.
Speaking to Sporza, Pogačar said: "It [Paris-Roubaix] is more difficult than the Tour of Flanders. It is usually flat here, which is different from yesterday.
"My legs still hurt a bit from yesterday. I didn't kick too hard during the recon."
🤔😬 pic.twitter.com/yeB1CEBS4ZApril 4, 2022
Stage five of the Tour de France will feature 19.4km of cobblestones, with 11 different sectors on the route from Lille to Arenberg Port du Hainaut. While last week's Dwars door Vlanderen represented the first cobbled race Pogačar has participated in as a professional cyclist, with the Tour of Flanders just his second competitive experience in the elite category, he claims he has gained invaluable encouragement ahead of the cobbled Tour stage this summer.
"Yesterday was one of my best days on a bike," Pogačar said. "It gives me confidence for the Tour and for years to come."
In fact, it seems like the UAE Team Emirates rider is targeting the fifth stage in particular to simply keep pace with the other GC contenders, hence his reconnaissance ride on the cobbles yesterday.
"Actually, I'm looking forward to that stage. It can go terribly wrong or it can go OK. You won't win the Tour here, but you can lose the Tour.
"It will in any case be a hectic stage, especially because that stage will be held in the Tour."
Regardless, Pogačar recognises that it is unlikely he will compete in Paris-Roubaix anytime soon, despite having recently persevered with the cobbles, citing the The Hell of the North, along with Milan-San Remo, as the most challenging events for him.
"I will one day be at the start [of Paris-Roubaix]," Pogačar added. "Maybe not next year, that is still too early.
"After yesterday I realise that Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo are the most difficult Monuments for me to win."
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