Tadej Pogacar leads strong UAE Team Emirates lineup for Tour of Slovenia

Tour de France champion prepares for his title defence by competing in home race

Tadej Pogacar will continue preparations for his Tour de France title defence by competing in his home race, the Tour of Slovenia, after being named in a strong UAE Team Emirates lineup on Monday.

The five-stage tour begins on Wednesday and concludes next Sunday, June 13 and Pogacar will be ably supported by two former champions.

Italy's Diego Ulissi is the defending champion having won the 2019 edition. Last year's race was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ulissi also won the race in 2011.

Polish rider Rafl Majka, who joined UAE Team Emirates this season, has also enjoyed success in Slovenia following his title in 2017 while riding for Bora–Hansgrohe.

The three riders will be joined by Slovenian Jan Polanc, Italy's Matteo Trentin, Vegard Stake Laengen of Norway, and Portugal's Rui Oliveira.

“I’m really looking forward to come home to race the Tour of Slovenia," Pogacar said. "I’ll be racing against friends, old teammates and it will be a real buzz to be home on familiar roads. It’s going to be nice having the local support too.

"It’s an exciting time for Slovenian cycling now and I’m sure we can look forward to a great race. I think our team is very strong and we hope to be fighting for the victory.”

The Tour of Slovenia represents a key race in Pogacar's preparation for the Tour de France, which starts on June 26.

Pogacar, then 20, made history when he won the Tour de France last year, becoming the youngest winner in 116 years and the first ever from his country.

Following the Tour of Slovenia, Pogacar will remain in his homeland for the National Championships, before taking his place on the Tour de France start line. That will then be followed by the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Published: June 7, 2021 03:22 PM

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