UAE Team Emirates and Tadej Pogacar prepare for hat-trick at Tour de France 2022

Slovenian rider will be aiming to emulate greats like Anquetil, Merckx, Indurain, and Froome in the 109th edition of iconic race

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UAE Team Emirates and their champion rider Tadej Pogacar will be looking to reinforce their position at the pinnacle of cycling when they begin defence of the Tour de France title on July 1.

A 13.2km time trial kicks off the 109th edition of the most prestigious race in cycling, with UAE Team Emirates eyeing their third consecutive crown.

Slovenian superstar Pogacar will be aiming for his third Tour de France victory in as many years, a feat that has been achieved only by cycling greats such as Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, and Chris Froome.

Supporting Pogacar in his quest will be a UAE Team Emirates group fresh from their incredible win in the Tour of Slovenia. After winning four of the five stages in the race, there can be no doubt that the morale is high within the camp ahead of ‘Le Grand Boucles’.

“As a team, we are focused, and we are ready,” Pogacar said. “We are really close as a group and have complete confidence in each other’s abilities. Our preparation has been excellent and I’m feeling in really good condition, I can’t wait to get started.”

Earlier this year, Pogacar said completing the hat-trick was definitely on his mind. “I want to enjoy this career in cycling as long as possible,” Pogacar had told The National.

“I’m in good shape and good races are coming, so I say to myself just go and enjoy the races. I love cycling and I love racing. That’s my goal, to enjoy what I’m doing now.”

While all 21 stages will be of importance, one leg will be of particular interest. Stage 12 from Briancon to Alpe D'huez falls on Bastille Day in France and the atmosphere is expected to be electric.

“When we first started this team in 2017, we had an ambitious five-year plan to win the Tour de France and cement ourselves as one of the top teams on the World Tour,” Team CEO Mauro Gianetti said.

“We stand here today having won it twice already and in a good position to be competitive once again – which is a fantastic feat. The team, the staff and our partners should be very proud of how far we’ve come in such a short space of time. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the UAE, and we’ll be doing all we can to make our fans in the UAE proud.”

Updated: June 24, 2022, 11:55 AM