06/23/2021 at 9:22 PM CEST
Director of Tadej pogacar, the last winner of the Tour, which starts on Saturday in the city of Brest, in Brittany, is Joxean Fernández ‘Matxín’, a 50-year-old from Biscay with extensive experience in cycling, but above all as a discoverer of young talents. His team, the Emirates, apart from having Pogacar In its ranks, it has just incorporated 18-year-old promising runner from Alicante, Juan Ayuso.
–Tadej Pogacar aspires to win the Tour again? –Obviously Tadej leaves very confident because he wants to win the Tour again, but he also knows that now it is no longer a surprise as it happened last year, but a reality at 22 years old.
– The Emirates, the team that you lead, is obliged to take control of the Tour from day one, as the Ineos or the Jumbo have done in recent years? –We are a different team, for example Ineos that has at least two tricks, Thomas and Carapaz. Tadej knows that we are going to protect him but it is not about taking control from day one since there are interests of other teams. For example, the first stage ends in a wall of 3 kilometers at 5.3% and will see many applicants to take control of the Tour since the victory rewards with the yellow jersey. And then the next day more of the same at the Brittany Wall, to then reach two stages with interests from the squads with sprinters. The important day will come in the first time trial (fifth stage). The Tour must be analyzed day by day, not as a whole.
–However, the custom was to be aware of the control executed by the team of the great favorite. –Exactly. This is how it has been run since 2015 but we are not going to want to be what we are not and we will see what other teams do. You just have to look at what happened last year at the Giro. The Ineos was carrying Thomas and he fell on the third day. Then they won seven stages, the race was open and entertaining and in the end they got the victory with Geoghegan Hart.
– How is Pogacar managed? –Tadej is managed and directed in a simple way since he has the ability to know how to analyze the race with a nonconformist character. I am going to tell an anecdote. In the meeting prior to the penultimate stage of the 2019 Vuelta, Tadej took the floor. He told us that he was assured of the white jersey as the best young man but that he did not care to finish fourth or fifth. He was thinking of victory and had seen that 44 kilometers from the finish line he could attack, just as he did. I told him to go ahead. He finished third overall and won that stage.
– Will it be the Slovenian Tour again, hand in hand between Pogacar and Roglic? –I don’t think so even if the experts say so. They are the ones that trade the highest, but we must not forget the team that Ineos and Movistar have, for example, they also have two riders with options, such as Mas and Superman López.
– Tell from your experience with young cyclists why this new generation has emerged now with Pogacar at the helm. –Cycling has changed a lot in recent years. In Induráin times, for example, it was unthinkable that a 22 or 23-year-old cyclist could win the Tour. And now, no. Young people have replaced experience with information. Now the data is the most important thing: the time of escalation to a certain port, the watts that move. Before to win the Tour you had to have lived it. Now you have all the information you can handle and even download just by connecting to Google. And they take advantage of it.
-The change is spectacular and even revolutionary.
-Now there are two cycles, two ways to prepare this sport. Now a team does not generalize the training but rather individualize it. Preparation for a sprinter is not the same as for a climber, thus creating what we could say two sports in oneself.
– Your team has just now incorporated Juan Ayuso who at 18 years old has won the Giro sub 23 and points to an extraordinary rider. –Juan at 18 is already a very mature person. But now we have to explain to him that even though he has signed for a top-level team, he is still not going to run the main races. It is true, it seems as if we give him a candy and then we hide it. It all depends on its evolution but I don’t think that until 2022 it will debut in a three-week race, which could be the Vuelta. But when you tell him he assists with his head and you see that he understands. For this reason, when we offered him a five-season contract at the beginning of the year, we told him that the first six months he would race with a continental team (the Second Cycling Division) to gain experience. And there has been no problem.
– Pogacar was signed up for the Vuelta when he was 20 years old. –Ayuso will now have a very attractive goal, which will be to make his debut with the Spanish team and participate in the Tour del Porvenir next August where he will coincide with other young talents.