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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Yates to share Tour de France team leader with Pojaca, says UAE boss


Emirates Team Emirates has appointed Adam Yates as co-leader of the Tour de France amid concerns over the health of two-time champion Tadeji Pogacar. The news was released on Wednesday.

Pojaca was in dizzying form before breaking his wrist in April and being forced out of the saddle ahead of the Tour title.

Team principal Mauro Gianetti insisted, as did Pogacar himself, that he was confident the driver would recover in time for Saturday’s grand start to Bilbao, but the Emirates boss reversed course on Wednesday.

“We really had no choice because Tadeji spent five weeks not being able to train on the road,” Gianetti said. “He works hard. We have a lot of faith in him, but there are no miracles in cycling.”

Pogacar returned from injury to claim a landslide victory in the Slovenian Championship time trial last Thursday. Then he backed that up by winning the road championship.

“It doesn’t mean he’s going to be 100 percent ready on Saturday,” Gianetti said.

A year ago, Jonas Vingegaard, aided by the collective strength of his Jumbo-Visma team, defeated the brave Pogacar in a brutal mountain battle of attrition.

The showdown between Pojaka, who had finished first the year before, and Wenggard, who was second, has dominated the Tour de France.

Yates, who joined the Emirates from Ineos this season, recently described Pogacar as “the team’s superstar”.

“But, who knows, sometimes you get injured or sick and you always need backup,” Yates said ahead of Saturday’s opening game in remote Bilbao.

Pogacar, 24, was injured in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege match on April 24. He quickly started training in the gym, but missed more than a month of training on the bike as his wrist had time to heal.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge setback,” Pogacar said. “It’s not about the legs or the head. I can pretty much train normally and do a good job. Hopefully I can get to 100%. Maybe the wrists won’t be at 100%, but I think the legs can because you don’t need the wrists to train the legs.

“We’ll see how the Tour goes and I’m going to enjoy it anyway.

“We have a very good team. There will be some strong competitors, but that’s always the case in the biggest races,” said Pogacar, the 2020 and 2021 Tour de France winner. “We’re going there To put on a good show, of course, the goal is to win.”


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