Commentary: “Pogi” proves that cycling can still be a game

Commentary: “Pogi” proves that cycling can still be a game
Commentary: “Pogi” proves that cycling can still be a game

The winner of the 2020 and 2021 Tours de France faces a challenge of his own this year. He decided to compete in the Giro and the Grande Boucle, with the goal of winning them both in a row. A feat only achieved so far by Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain, Stephen Roche and Marco Pantani. Mad? Yes. But this 25-year-old cyclist is a little and we must take advantage of it, after years of US Postal or Sky which put more than one to sleep in front of the TV.

For several weeks, the little queen’s specialists have been debating what “Pogi” should do to complete these two three-week events and win them at the end. Many felt that he should run against nature and save himself as much as possible. Given the limited competition on the transalpine roads, the Slovenian would be able to win without getting too tired and arrive in force in France, while Remco Evenepoel and Jonas Vingegaard were still recovering from serious injuries.

What the consultants forgot, amid all their conjectures, is that Tadej Pogacar is not the type to do things by halves. It’s just stronger than him, as soon as he’s on a race, he wants to have fun. And sport is always more fun when you’re strong. As a result, since the start of the Giro, the cyclist with the shaggy haircut has enjoyed himself on all terrains, even if it means attacking this Monday in the finale of a stage promised to the sprinters.

The day looked dull, no one was attacking in the peloton and the profile of the day was as flat as a hand, except for two tiny kilometers shortly before the finish? Well, Mauro Gianetti’s protégé took the opportunity to take the wheel of Mikkel Honoré, when the Dane tried his luck some 5 miles from the finish. Welsh veteran Geraint Thomas followed suit, but suffered a thousand deaths just trying to keep up. So imagine when Pogacar asked for a relay…

“Okay son. Did you have fun. But tomorrow, will we be able to have a quiet day?”, laughed the Ineos runner on social networks in the process. Well surely not and that’s what’s beautiful. Because if he has the opportunity to shake up a peloton that has been sclerotic for years, Pogacar will do it, because that’s how he has always run. As he is a generational talent, the slightest bump, the slightest gust of wind on this Giro, will make him want to try something and it will make him laugh.

The grumpy people, the old frustrated ones, will still clench their little fists and complain on Twitter, with a nickname like “CTmieuavant56” and explain via wattage calculations that it’s impossible. To those, don’t forget that on Saturday and Monday, he lost. But with panache. And if not, see you in ten years… We’ll see. I want to believe that a guy who puts on garnet cycling shorts, in homage to the Torino plane crash on May 4, 1949 on Superga hill, can only be a genius. Let’s take advantage, we have before our eyes one of the greatest talents in the history of cycling.

So I don’t know about you, but I was never a leader in what I did on a sports field. I was largely (very) average everywhere and that wasn’t bad, it was enough to enjoy it. But if you had even a tenth of Tadej Pogacar’s natural class, how would you like to experience your discipline? Personally, I think I would do exactly like the Team UAE rider. Even if it means winning, I might as well do it while having fun and exciting the crowds.

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