(Paris) The Slovenian Tadej Pogacar said on Friday he was convinced of arriving in good shape on the Tour de France in a month, after his operation on his left wrist following a violent fall during Liège-Bastogne-Liège on 23 last April.
“The form is better than expected. I feel really good. I hope to be 100% on the Tour, maybe not in the wrist, but in the legs. You don’t need the wrist to pedal, ”he said during a press videoconference from his training camp in the Sierra Nevada, in the south of Spain, 29 days before the start of the race. Big Loop in Bilbao.
To prepare for the Tour, which he intends to regain after giving up his crown to Jonas Vingegaard last year, the double winner (2020, 2021) prefers to focus on training and will not participate in the Tour of Slovenia (14-18 June) that he has won for the past two years.
“I’m staying in Sierra Nevada until June 11 and then I’ll reconnoitre a few stages of the Tour. Then I go back to an altitude camp in Sestriere. Maybe I will participate in the Slovenian Road and Time Trial Championships. But I will not do the Tour of Slovenia unfortunately,” he said.
Pogacar, 24, suffered a terrible fall on April 23 during the classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Victim of fractures of the left scaphoid and the semilunar bone of the left hand, he was operated on the same evening in Belgium.
Since his accident, the Slovenian has been active on social networks to show how he keeps himself in shape, with an exercise bike in his kitchen, by sheathing on the terrace of his Monegasque apartment or by climbing, weighted from a backpack, the stairs of the Principality where he resides.
“My motivation has been great from the start. Initially I was supposed to observe six weeks of rest without cycling, but I harassed everyone to resume earlier, being very careful of course, “said the Slovenian who wears different splints, one for cycling and one for everyday life.
“We will have exams on Monday to see if the bone is consolidated. I look forward to the next few weeks of training and being able to go on the Tour, ”he insisted.
The Slovenian even believes that the episode could be “a blessing in disguise”. “The seasons are so intense. The injury allowed me to rest my body and mind. And arriving with a little freshness on a race of 21 stages is not a bad thing”, he said.