Tadej Pogacar looks to bring TDF momentum to Tokyo

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2020 Summer Olympic Games

23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo, Japan

Two-time and reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar will aim to bring his winning momentum to the Men’s Road Race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The Men’s Road Race, which will be the first major Cycling event at Tokyo, will take place on Saturday 24 July on a 234 km course which will start in Musashinonomori Park inChofu, western Tokyo with the finish at the Fuji Speedway circuit in the Shizuoka prefecture.

Pogacar comes to the Olympics on the back of a second successive triumph at the Tour de France, making the 22-year-old Slovenian the youngest ever to win back-to-back TDF titles.

“I cannot describe how happy I am to be a part of this family. It melts my heart," he said of his UAE Team Emirates this past weekend. "They were with me every day all year preparing for the Tour. I'm just super happy and proud to be a part of this team and this journey."

He added, “"I will remain motivated in the coming years, but what comes next will come next… I'm not stressed about it.”

One of the main threats to Pogacar’s hopes of winning Gold could come from compatriot Primoz Roglic, though he is still recovering from injuries sustained in a fall which forced him to abandon the TDF.

Another contender is Wout van Aert, with the 26-year-old Belgian winning the famed sprint down the Champs-Elysees to claim the final stage of the TDF and underline his potential to claim glory at the Games – especially as he will also try to win the Time Trial event on July 28.

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"I guess I'll try to win both, but of course it's going to be really difficult. Though for now, I'm still overwhelmed by the victories of this weekend," said van Aert.

Other riders to look out for include Belgian Remco Evepoel, Portugal’s João Almeida, Maximillian Schachmann of Germany and Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde, who is thrilled to be participating at his fifth Olympic Games.

“Morale, motivation, is more important than physical condition, and not always when you have good legs, you are in good spirits. You can only go full throttle being motivated and excited,” said the 41-year-old.

“I'm going to Tokyo with morals, of course. And I already know that it is not a village race, that it is an Olympic Games, but I am not thinking that I have to get a medal, yes or yes. If I get it, very good, but it will be very difficult, "he warns. "Let everyone know well that I am going to give my all, of course, but I am not going to go with more pressure than I should."

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Published: 07/23/2021