There was no rest for the 2022 Tour de France runner-up Tadej Pogačar on Monday. Mere hours after finishing three hard weeks of racing, the Slovenian cycling star was back among the team cars. Still sporting a large patch of road rash on his shin, Pogačar was out on the second day of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift supporting his fiancée Urška Žigart.
A late call-up for the Team BikeExchange roster at the momentous rebirth of a women’s Tour de France, Žigart is a two-time Slovenian time trail champion and, according to Pogačar, could be a contender on the mountains.
“It was a big surprise for her, but not so much for me because I know how good she is.
I'm super proud and happy that she's at the biggest race of women’s cycling,” Pogačar told Cycling Weekly.
Žigart and Pogačar met at a cycling training camp in 2017 when they were both part of the City Ljubljana program, and got engaged in 2021. The pair train together whenever they have the chance and Pogačar has nothing but confidence in his fiancée's abilities. But whereas Pogačar starting cycling early - at the age of nine - and already has two Tour de France victories to his name, Žigart didn’t get her start until she was 18 and is still coming into her own as a professional cyclist.
Pogačar revealed that despite her time trialling pedigree, Žigart is also quite the climber.
“She can climb really good. I think she’s one of the best climbers in the world,” he said.
“I hope Urska can win. I hope she can shine on Saturday or Sunday. They are two good stages for her and I can’t wait to see her race and support her.”
The final two stages of the women’s Tour de France will see the peloton tackle the Grand Ballon and Le Planche Des Belles Filles where Pogačar himself broke the climbing record last month.
When asked what his advice was for his betrothed, he grinned stating: “full gas to the top. It's a super hard finish, but I think, yeah, they will race really hard and that's good for her.’
Pogačar is a big fan and advocate of women’s cycling, and has been spotted on the sidelines at various women’s races over the years.
“I love to watch women's cycling,” Pogačar said. "It's more complicated than men's cycling and more interesting. There’s more attacking, you never know what's gonna happen and I think it makes it really, really fun to watch.”
Pogačar said he’ll be watching the final two stages in person until then, he “will be all time on watching on TV, glued to the screen.”
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