BRATISLAVA. There is a superlative in cycling that has been used so often that it has lost its strength for years. Comparison: This is the new Merckx, devalued. The metaphor with the best racer in history has been used very often.
“I’ve heard it so many times, but it never came true,” the famous Belgian told Tuttobiciweb.
In short, it could be said that he won everything he could. Not even once. He has a total of 525 victories, 11 of which he has achieved in the largest stage GrandTours races, 19 in the most famous classics and is also a three-time world champion.
Cycling has changed since he won, so it is impossible to repeat his successes. However, the legend also acknowledges that after many years there is a cyclist in the peloton who deserves to be compared to him for his achievements.
At his age, the Tour had not yet won
“I think that is really true with Tadej Pogačar. He is twenty-three years old and has won the Tour twice. That’s unbelievable.
I noticed that he was exceptional in his first year, when he won three stages on the Vuelte and attacked 37 kilometers before the finish line in the last. At that time, he was chased in vain by the entire Movistar team, “said 76-year-old Merckx.
“I haven’t won the Tour once at his age. He is a great champion here and we have something to look forward to in the coming years. “
He praised the young Slovenian at a meeting with one of the Italian sponsors. The young racer admitted that he had respect when meeting the legend.
Pogačar was able to repeat a great year. He defended his title at the Tour de France, won two monumental classics (Liege – Bastogne – Liege and Around Lombardy), and won bronze at the Olympics. He won 13 victories together.
On the Tour, he managed to share a three-minute loss to his opponents in one stage.
Pogachar: It will be difficult to catch up with Merckx
Merckx even thinks that Pogachar can break some of his records. This has not been achieved by the best cyclists in decades.
“It simply came to our notice then. It will be difficult to win the classic Milan – San Remo, which even once, and not seven times as achieved by Merckx. But I like to win. In every race I start, I try to leave my mark.
Even if it was only a small criterion in Slovenia, but in my opinion, competition is a natural part of every cyclist, “says Tadej Pogačar.
Although he has achieved more than many more famous and experienced cyclists in the course of three seasons, he does not lack motivation for the following seasons. He would rather win every race he starts in.
That’s why he often drives actively, unusually tactical and waiting. Many times his activity paid off.
“I would like to start again at the Olympics and win a gold medal. But I would also like to win the title of world champion, win the Giro and also the Vuelta, “he added.
Does the UAE Emirates racer have any weakness at all?
“I do not think so. He has the mentality and professionalism of a great champion. When you have these qualities, you have no weakness, “added Merckx.
“I can only advise him to stay on his feet, because every season for him starts from scratch and every year he will have to prove that he is the strongest. But he has a great team with him who supports him. Here he is a complex cyclist, if nothing changes, he will win many more victories on the Tour and probably also on the Giro d’Italia, “added Eddy Merckx.