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Tadej Pogačar: ‘It was a fantastic Giro. The atmosphere was crazy’

By Monica Buck

Tadej Pogačar expressed a blend of happiness, relaxation, and introspection upon clinching the Giro d’Italia in Rome’s historic center. He not only won six stages but also maintained substantial leads of 9:56 and 10:24 over Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), respectively.

From the outset in Turin, Pogačar competed as much against his own previous performances as against his rivals, pushing his physical and mental boundaries. This year’s race allowed him to explore deeper the distinct charm of the Giro and the enthusiastic Italian fans.

Pogačar was as much a giver as a receiver, evident in his race conduct and interactions with other racers and children along the course. His approach not only solidified his status as a fan favorite but also increased his global appeal.

“People give and you always need to return it,” Pogačar remarked, encapsulating his philosophy.

“It was a fantastic Giro. The atmosphere was crazy with the tifosi from all over the world, and a lot of Slovenian fans as well. I enjoyed some great emotions; it was a super nice parcours, the organisation was pretty good. I really enjoyed it with the guys and the team. All in all, it was a super good experience.

“There were very nice moments, especially with the kids. They were super happy. What I advise them and try to give them, is to enjoy the moment, to enjoy the game. As long as cycling is just a game, everything is alright. Enjoy the moment and follow a good mentality.”

The champion celebrated his victory with his partner Urška Žigart, who rides for Liv-AlUla-Jayco, and his family, alongside the UAE Team Emirates team, in Rome. After wrapping up sponsor commitments, he looks forward to a short break in Monte Carlo before preparing for the Tour de France.

“I’m tired and so I’ll be super happy when everything is over, now is the last push. In two or three days, everything is going to be perfect,” he shared, feeling the weight of the month-long spotlight.

Now 25, Pogačar has participated in six Grand Tours, always finishing on the podium, and now adds the Giro’s maglia rosa to his achievements.

“I think every race gives you experience. This one gave me experience too,” he reflected. “You definitely grow in a race when it’s three weeks long. Maybe I did another step up as a man, as a person. After this Giro, we’ll see how I feel, and if I’ve really matured.

“As a rider, I felt super strong, I felt comfortable on the bike through the three weeks. That’s a long time on the bike but I must say I was really comfortable, where I wanted to be.

“I can take a lot out of this performance and how I was feeling on the bike. After some good rest maybe I can even improve. I think I’m on a good path for the next part of the season.”

Looking ahead, Pogačar is eyeing the Giro-Tour double, hoping to make history by emulating Marco Pantani’s 1998 feat.

“I’ll take a few days to switch off the mind, relax a bit, then I’ll try to restart,” he said as he anticipates the upcoming Tour de France.

“I’ll try to build these legs again and try to improve if possible. We will see how I feel when I restart.”

With these intentions, Pogačar has clearly signaled to his competitors: he is the one to beat.