Tadej Pogačar launches into the defense of the Tour de France with the monster Stelvio

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Tadej Pogačar sets the tone for his Tour de France defense.

Pogačar logged two huge drives through the Italian Alps this week as he accelerated ahead of next week’s Tour of Slovenia and July’s Tour de France.

Five- and then six-hour rides through the tenuous airs of Livigno and Stelvio National Park are Pogačar’s first publicly visible outings on the pedals since his last run at La Flèche Wallonne in mid-April.

A workout recorded on Strava Friday saw Pogačar establish the KoM on the infamous Gavia Pass before breaking a series of records on the climb to Bormio 2000.

A run up the 2,700m Stelvio and a return to Livigno completed a day of 5,500m of green in an effort as big as any Tour stage.

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Like many pros, Pogačar keeps his power and heart rate data off the grid, so direct details of Friday’s mega-race are under wraps.

However, reverse engineering and analysis of the numbers suggest that Pogačar hit 6.6 w/kg in a single 15-minute climb up the Bormio 2000 slope.

Longer win efforts at large circuits typically see numbers somewhere north of 6.0 w/kg for up to 30 minutes. But regardless of the exact numbers or ratios, Pogačar’s run shows he’s more than serious.

Like last year, the UAE megastar chooses his home race, the Tour of Slovenia, for his final tune-up event.

Arch-rival Primož Roglič is currently six days out in Dauphiné, while Ineos Grenadiers duo Daniel Martínez and Adam Yates will face Aleksandr Vlasov and Thibaut Pinot in the Tour de Suisse next week.

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Details have also emerged of the new Colnago “Prototipo” bike that Pogačar will have available for racing in Slovenia and France in the coming weeks.

The 23-year-old could have trained on Livigno’s lighter, stiffer and more versatile racing machine, and will likely use it on the Tour.

With Pogačar out of competition since April and no chance of seeing him face Roglič and the others in the June races, anticipation is building for his appearance at the Great departure.

After blasting through UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Strade Bianche, as well as coming up against Mathieu van der Poel on his Tour of Flanders debut, expect Pogačar to be very good in July.

Pogačar sets the tone at the head of the Tour of Slovenia and the Tour de France.

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