UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar reveals pre-Tour de France schedule

Defending champion will race in the Tour of Slovenia in preparation for Tour and Olympics

UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar has revealed his schedule for the build-up to his Tour de France title defence, with the Slovenian opting to avoid the classic tune-up races.

Pogacar, 22, made history as the youngest winner of the Tour de France in 116 years โ€“ as well as the first from Slovenia โ€“ when he clinched last year's title in extraordinary style by seizing the lead in the penultimate time-trial stage.

Pogacar has maintained his fine form with three titles already in 2021, at Tirreno-Adriatico, the team's home race at the UAE Tour, and his first victory among classics in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Since winning the prestigious Liege-Bastogne-Liege at the end of April, Pogacar has been under the radar with altitude training in Sestriere in Italy.

He announced that he will next race in the Tour of Slovenia on June 9-13 and the Slovenian national championships, avoiding classic Tour build-up races โ€“ the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour of Switzerland.

UAE Team Emirates have enjoyed recent success in the Tour of Slovenia after Italian rider Diego Ulissi won the last title in 2019. Pogacar finished fourth, 30 seconds behind his teammate.

"I feel good and ready to aim for my next targets," Pogacar told the UAE Team Emirates website.

"Last time I raced the Tour of Slovenia my teammate Ulissi won it so UAE are the defending champions. I'm pleased to go back there. It's a race I'd dearly love to win."

The Tour de France starts June 26 and concludes on July 18, while the Tokyo Olympics road race on the slopes of Mount Fuji takes place six days after the Tour finishes.

The Tour returns to its usual summertime slot after the 2020 edition was rescheduled for September in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated: May 19, 2021 11:09 PM

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