In a tweet captioned "break the internet", RCS broke the news that the two-time Tour de France winning Slovenian will take part in the Italian Grand Tour for the first time. The 25-year-old has never not finished off the podium in the four Tours and one Vuelta a España he has taken part in so far.
It is unknown what the rest of Pogačar's year will look like as yet; the past two seasons have seen him tackle much of the Classics season before focussing on the Tour. The extra challenge in 2024 is the Paris Olympics, which follows straight on from the French Grand Tour. His calendar is due to be revealed by his UAE Team Emirates squad this week.
It seems unlikely that Pogačar will skip the Tour, given the race's outsized importance in the calendar; UAE will surely send their strongest squad. However, targeting both the Giro and Tour for general classification is a tough challenge for any rider, it has not happened since Marco Pantani completed the double in 1998.
The news of the Slovenian riding the Giro, for which he will now be an outstanding favourite, came rather out of the blue. Previously, he had downplayed the chance of riding the race, due to his main goals being the Tour, the Olympics, and the World Championships in Zurich.
It is a coup for race organisers RCS, who can now claim to have the best bike rider in the world at their race, on the start list alongside another star in Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and another former Tour winner in Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).
Pogačar is no stranger to winning in Italy, taking three victories in a row at Il Lombardia, and previously winning Tirreno-Adriatico. The Giro is a different test, however, with a different character to the Tour or Vuelta.
2024's Giro d'Italia route contains the iconic Passo dello Stelvio, gravel sectors and a tough new climb, with two individual time trials, six mountain finishes and a final-week crescendo in the Dolomites.
When riders have set their sights on the Giro-Tour double in recent years, it has seemed too much; in 2018, Chris Froome won the Giro, and then came third at the Tour, while Alberto Contador won the Giro in 2015, and then came fifth at the French counterpart. It might be that Pogačar is aiming for stage wins at the Tour after a tilt at GC in Italy.
The Giro-Tour double has also been achieved by Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
Break the internet ♾💗👋 @TamauPogi @TeamEmiratesUAE #Giro #GirodItalia @MiAirports pic.twitter.com/eFIxlLy6L5December 17, 2023
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