How to beat Pogacar

Hi all!

Along with probably anyone with a passing interest in the Tour, to pro riders, I’ve been wondering how to beat Pogacar, if it’s possible at all…

Froome doesn’t seem to be alone in thinking he is unbeatable this year - and for perhaps years to come - and he doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses? I thought I’d put forward my ideas on any chinks in his armour and wondered if anyone else had any thoughts? I am not getting a job as a DS any time soon, so the below probably has a million reasons why it wouldn’t work…

  • Scenario 1. Pogacar in the last Tour at least seemed keen to get a lot of time early on. Is he nervous about mulitple attacks in the big mountains, his overall stamina? Could Ineos and Jumbo work together to use every GC contender they have to attack one after the other?

  • Scenario 2. Roglic publicly says that he is out of GC and is going to try stage wins. He goes up the road and is somehow joined by WVA or even Ganna on one of the hillier, but not mountain stages, forcing UAE to make the decision to track them down alone and use a lot of energy, or let them go, and Roglic back into GC.

  • Scenario 3. Let down his tyres just before the start.

Any other thoughts - or is Pogacar just a brilliant unstoppable rider? He undoubtedly is the former, but has anyone got a plan?

Cheers! :upside_down_face:

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Use one of these in the mountains and pay the UCI inspector to look the other way.

In all seriousness I don’t think anyone has a chance outside of a crash or poorly timed puncture. The guy is a generational talent and seemingly unbeatable. He says he’s weak at altitude albeit that seems like Bravo Sierra, regardless I’d try and put as much pressure on him in the high mountains.

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Pogacar has also been very good at avoiding problems. To the extent that he’s been involved in crashes or suffered mechanicals, they’ve been in circumstances where they didn’t have any meaningful impact on a race GC. I guess the best bet you can have is hope his luck runs out in that regard.

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If Pogacar stays on form, forget it. But three weeks is a long bike race. Lots of great riders have bad days. And Pog’s big efforts (for minimal bonuses) this week could be something he pays for in week three (Simon Yates is nodding his head ruefully).

If you’re another rider, just ride strong and sensibly, essentially for second place. If Pog looks strong, don’t attack him, it’s pointless. But if he has a bad day, be ready to pounce.

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Probably a long shot, and very unlikely to work, but give him too much rope and hope that he cracks?

Once in a generation there may be an anomaly who is just better than everyone else because they are that physically gifted.

We may truly be seeing another Eddy Merckx and it might be worth it to just sit back and watch it happen. I mean, really … wouldn’t you love to the opportunity to see Merckx’s career unfold, knowing what he was capable of?

Some of us need to stop pretending that we can figure out how to beat Tadej Pogacar. That isn’t in our scope. We just need to let it happen and appreciate how gifted this mutant really is.

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Unless he is unlucky enough to get Covid, I think he’s got Yellow all wrapped up. Same with WVA and the Green jersey.

So I’m looking forward to some breakaway stage wins and the KOM Jersey competition :joy:

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Back to the boring Indurain period/years me thinks…

Or, Lance years.

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I think the best strategy to beat Pogacar is to grind him into the ground.

If you think about it, Pogacar has won the last two tours in two stages. He won the 2020 tour in a time trial on the last day, and he won the 2021 Tour on stage 8 (?) to Le Grand Bornand, where he attacked early and built up a large enough lead to hold all the way to Paris.

What that means is we have never really seen him under sustained, intense pressure of attacks for days at a time. I think the best thing this Tour would have been for Jumbo to have both Roglic and Vingegaard close to each other and to Pog on GC. That way, if one of them goes up the road Pog has to respond, and the other can just sit on his wheel. Then the two Jumbo guys can swap roles the next day. Doing that day after day could wear Pogacar out.

After the 2020 Tour Caley Fretz did a podcast interview with Pogacar’s coach, Dr. Inigo San Milan. He said the Pogacar’s great strength as a cyclist was not necessarily his ability to put out massive power, or through a great w/kg ratio (though he almost certainly does have one), but the efficiency of his body in producing energy and his ability to recover from efforts. If that is the case, the way to beat him, when he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, is to take away his greatest strength. You do that by grinding him into the ground.

At any rate, I don’t think anyone will beat him by racing conservatively and waiting for just the right moment to attack, a la Jai Hindley at the Giro this year. He’s good enough to weather those moments, and it’s possible such a moment will never come anyway.

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I’m reminded of a film quote
“How would I beat Pogacar? I his sleep with a stick! But on the road with a bike? No chance”

It’s certainly interesting though, as there’s no way he’s truly unbeatable, so it will be good to see what people come up with (here and on the road)

Think you need more teams to do that. The helpers in TJV would have an enormous task to go for it every day.

Not quite, at least Pog is a much more exciting rider to watch and wouldn’t just rely on time trials to crush everyone like big Mig did.

Pog has already won as many non TT stages in this year’s TDF than Indurain ever won in his whole career.

The overwhelming frustartion of watching during the Indurain years was the feeling that Big Mig could have done more on the mountains and taken more stage victories but he was calculated enough to know that he didn’t need to.

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I wonder whether today is the day for Roglic to try to attack from 30 or 40km out. At 2.30 down would he be marked? If successful he gets time back, if not UAE have to put a lot of resources into clawing him back on their own, even though he’s not really a GC threat…

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I agree with your points with regards to Indurain but regardless of how (Pogacar) he wins, be it TT’s or road stages if he dominates it’s still boring to watch.

Infurain doesn’t get the credit he deserves for how he padded his lead in the mountains. He often would dominate the first mountain stage, but let someone else take the stage honors…Chiapucci, Rominger, etc.

Saying he only won the his Tours in the TT’s is a bit one-dimensional.

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Honestly? Luck.

As someone else noted above, Pog is very good at staying out of trouble (look at how he rode on stage 5) but he has also been lucky (or, at least, not had bad luck). Opi Omi got stuck out in front of JV, not UAE; the hay bale got dragged out in front of Rog, not Pog; when the AG2R rider went sideways after the speed bump, he just missed Pog - another 0.5m and he takes him out.

But currently, unless we have a couple of super hot high mountain stages (where I think he might be vulnerable to Vingegaard) then he’s winning unless he gets Covid.

The only way to beat Pog is to wear him and UAE out. Which means absolutely not doing any work and forcing UAE to do everything.

Perfect example was on Friday to Super Planche…heading to the final climb, there was Ineos slogging away at the front. WTF…why are they doing UAE’s work? For a stage win on a stage that doesn’t suit their riders?!?!

That also means that JV and Ineos are gonna have to be willing to risk losing the podium spots and stage wins….which no one is likely winning to do.

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Problem is, Pog is likely to win enough High Mountains points to be in polka in Paris too.

They didn’t let Uran go yesterday, and his time gap to Pogacar was higher than Roglic’s. Plus Uran isn’t the kind of threat he was in 2017 anymore. So no way they let Roglic go.

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