“Last year I sometimes overdid it, with some stupid movement,” admits Tadej Pogacar ahead of the last week

The Slovenian is ten seconds behind Danish rival Jonas Vingegaard ahead of the third and final week of the Tour de France, which opens with a time trial on Tuesday.

Ten seconds. This is what separates Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) from outgoing winning yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) at the start of the third and final week of the Tour de France. The two scarecrows in the peloton neutralized each other during the triptych of Alpine stages, and will be separated during the last six stages. Winner in 2020 and 2021, the Slovenian spoke at the press conference during the rest day, Monday 17 July, before this final stretch.

How do you imagine this last week of the Tour de France?

Yeah, we’ll have to see after the time trial (Tuesday) Things. Then, I think of the Col de la Loze (Wednesday) and the Markstein (SATURDAY) it will be the stages that will decide the winner of the Tour. For my part, I recognized the time and the stage of Wednesday. It seems to me the hardest of this Tour, even if we will focus mainly on the last climb of the Col de la Loze, this one will be very, very tough. On the other hand, I don’t know the Markstein.

The last few days have been characterized by intense heat. How do you feel in these conditions?

I think I improve every year, but racing below 35 or 40 degrees is still something I don’t like. After, my teammates help me a lot to cool off. In recent years we have improved the path of the bottles and this makes a big difference at the end of the stage.

And your wrist, almost three months after the Liège-Bastogne-Liège fracture? Have you found all your feelings?

After two weeks of racing, I don’t think it matters. My wrist is not at the top yet, but my legs are fine, and that’s the main thing. I’m happy where I am, we’ll see the state of my wrist after the Tour.

In your opinion, which of you or Jonas Vingegaard has a psychological influence before the finish line?

It is true that it can be a psychological warfare, but I don’t know if it affects that much. Honestly, I don’t know who’s ahead. Everyone focuses on their own race. Jonas is fine, he doesn’t seem nervous and he’s really strong this year. And I don’t even think I’m particularly stressed. But hey, we know it’s stressful coming into week three and following the attacks every day on crazy stages.

Just this year we feel you are less inclined to launch all-out attacks…

It’s true that last year I sometimes went overboard, with some stupid moves. This year I have a little more control. After that, I’m not that far in the overall standings. So rather than using up all my shells, I’d rather focus on one attack to really be 100%. In this sense, it is true that there is a big difference compared to last year.

Are you aware that you are at the beginning of an extraordinary rivalry with Jonas Vingegaard?

I do not know. For the moment everyone is living their own race regardless of the historical side. We push each other to improve. In any case, for my part, I love this fight against him, and this for the third year in a row!

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