How would Bradley Wiggins beat Tadej Pogačar? 'Buy him, and send him to the Giro'

Former Tour de France winner admits he would have struggled against a talent like Pogačar

Bradley Wiggins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The only way Ineos Grenadiers can definitely beat Tadej Pogačar at the Tour de France is to sign him and send him to the Giro d'Italia instead, Bradley Wiggins has argued.

The 2012 Tour winner was reflecting on how he would beat the precocious Slovenian, who has won the last two editions of the race.

After dominating the Tour between 2012 and 2019, winning seven of eight, the team now known as Ineos Grenadiers face questions over the leadership of the team heading into this summer.

Egan Bernal might be back on a bike, but it looks like Adam Yates and Dani Martínez will head up the team in Copenhagen. Yates has finished fourth before, but that was in 2016, while Martínez's best result was 28th overall. Richard Carapaz, who finished third last year, is heading to the Giro.

Geraint Thomas, who won the Tour in 2018, is not nailed on to be part of the team, and might have to go as a domestique.

“I can’t see anyone [winning other than Pogačar], and as much as I’d like Geraint to win a second Tour, with the momentum he’s gaining with two Tour wins and dominance," Wiggins told the media at Discovery's year of cycling launch on Monday.

"Other than a crash you can’t see anyone dismantling him other than [Primož] Roglič. I can’t see Ineos, other than Pidcock if he wants to throw his name in, if he wants to go down that road."

Wiggins conceded that he "might have struggled" against the Slovenian, even in his 2012-winning form, where his biggest threat appeared to be his teammate Chris Froome. He won two time trials on the way to victory, and beat Froome by 3:21 in Paris.

Last year, Pogačar won a time trial and two mountain stages as he won by over five minutes.

"He is a great time trialist and he would have out-climbed me," Wiggins said. "He’s got that youthful exuberance where he’s got that naivety around him where does not really realize what he’s achieving.

“He’s willing to take risks and attack far from the finish and by the time I won the Tour de France, I was past that. I was becoming a bit of an old git and I had to be calculating and measure my efforts.

“At Sky we rode to my strengths. Had we done that, I think Pogačar would have attacked over the top and made it very difficult for us,” Wiggins said. “It would have been very difficult to challenge him and the other thing that we could have done, and I’m surprised Dave hasn’t done is throw a load of money at him, buy him, and send him to the Giro d’Italia.”

Despite the enormous resources of Ineos, the team is yet to find a way to tackle Pogačar, and Roglič to an extent.

“It’s very difficult and whatever plan you come at you can’t trump talent with money,” Wiggins said. “And as Pogačar has proved, when the road goes uphill his extremities as an athlete are so special. We say these riders come along once in a generation but there seems to be a lot in this generation."

Wiggins is a Discovery Cycling Expert for Discovery and GCN+, and is speaking at “Discovery’s Year of Cycling Launch.” Watch live racing and original cycling documentaries on GCN+.

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