Tadej Pogačar to ride Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2022

Slovenian also says he is "really excited" to race Tour of Flanders for the first time

Tadej Pogačar
Tadej Pogačar attacks at Il Lombardia last year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar is to ride the Tour and the Vuelta a España in the same season, the Slovenian confirmed on Monday.

It will be the first time that he will target two grand tours in the same season. In 2019 he came third at the Vuelta before he won back-to-back Tours in 2020 and 2021. Fellow Slovenian Primož Roglič has won three Vuelta titles in a row.

Before the Tour, he will race the Tour of Flanders for the first time, and Milan-San Remo, but will not ride the Giro d'Italia, the one grand tour he has not yet ridden.

"I hope to do two Grand Tours this year, the Tour and the Vuelta," Pogačar said during a press conference at a UAE-Team Emirates training camp. "You never know what can happen through the season but that's what I'd really like.

"The Vuelta was my first Grand Tour, and I was third place in GC. I have really nice memories and I want to live those memories again in the future."

>>> Tadej Pogačar posts monstrous record time at Coll de Rates on Strava

Pogačar won both Il Lombardia and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, two of the five monuments, last year. Just three riders have ever won all five across their career - Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, and Roger De Vlaeminck.

The Tour of Flanders will be the fourth monument that the Slovenian has raced, and Pogačar said he was "really excited" to race it. However, he played down his chances, saying that teammate Matteo Trentin will lead the team there. Instead, he will use the race as experience for when the Tour de France includes cobbles in this year's parcours.

"The Tour of Flanders is one of the biggest races, and it's a new challenge for me," he said. "For sure it will help for the Tour de France, for the cobbles to get the idea of the roads, and we can do the recon after Flanders for the Tour. 

"Everything that comes with it, there's a lot of experience I think. I'm really excited to do Flanders, and this year I go for a fourth monument, but that doesn't mean I'm focusing to win all of them, but in the future I would like to try all of the five. [Paris] Roubaix in the future, not in the near future, but maybe one day."

UAE-Team Emirates have brought in more climbing experience this year, with the signings of George Bennett, João Almeida and Marco Soler. They join Juan Ayuso, who joined the squad mid-season in 2021.

"I'm super happy that we have those riders," Pogačar explained. "We already di one training camp with them in October, and now here. We have had a good time for now, and I can't wait to start racing with all the guys. 

"I think we can be pretty positive with all the riders, and I think we are moving in the right direction. We are a super good group, and it's fun to be better and better every race."

Pogačar said that Ayuso, the Spanish rider who joined the team at 18 after winning the Baby Giro last year, is going to be "super strong" already.

"I think Ayuso is going to be super strong this year already. He is super motivated, and thinking of big goals already. If he has an opportunity this year he can grab it and show how good he is."

He confirmed that he would not be racing the Giro d'Italia, despite being pushed to do it by Giro organiser Mauro Vegni.

He instead tipped Almeida to win it: "He has already shown two times in a row that he can be there for the pink."

The Tour de France champion also touched on the retirement of Allan Peiper, the UAE sports direct who stepped back to focus on his health. The Australian oversaw both of Pogačar's Tour triumphs.

"I'm happy for him because he has more time for himself," he said. "For sure we will stay in touch a lot through the whole year, but he was a big part of this team, and we will for sure miss him a lot."

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