Tadej Pogacar prioritising Vuelta a Espana ahead of Giro d’Italia, Tour de France remains ‘main goal’

Tadej Pogacar has revealed his hope of competing in the 2023 Vuelta a Espana and explained there is more chance of him lining up at Spain’s Grand Tour than at the Giro d’Italia.

In an exclusive interview with Eurosport Spain, the UAE Team Emirates rider reflected on the fond memories he has from an event that provided a springboard to his recent successes at the Tour de France.

Pogacar ended his season on Sunday with a win in the Madrid Criterium.

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The Slovenian said: “I have such good memories of the Vuelta.

“It was my first Grand Tour [in 2019], I finished on the podium in three stages and I got the white jersey as well.

“It’s one of the three Grand Tours where I have the most beautiful memories.

“I want to come back as fast as possible; if it’s this year, we will see. [There are] more chances to do the Vuelta than the Giro this year.”

Pogacar added that his 2023 calendar is still open, but did confirm that his main priority is the Tour de France along with another appearance at the Tour of Flanders.

“We will talk about it more in December, but next year is more of an open book,” he said. “I’m sure next year we all agree that I will go to the Tour de France; that’s the main goal and probably Flanders as well.

“It was one of the best races I had ever done, it didn’t matter about the result. I had great fun, almost seven hours on the bike with some great fans in Belgium and the parcours was really interesting.

“It’s different to what I’m used to, so I would say it was one of the best races I had ever done. I want to come back, but I will not promise anything and say I will compete against [Mathieu] van der Poel or [Wout] van Aert. However, I will try to do my own race and do my best.”

The 24-year-old was in fine spirits as he looked ahead to another exciting year in 2023 and is relishing the prospect of more success with his team.

He said: “Like everybody else, I’m super motivated. I had a good off season, a good rest, so now I’m building up slowly towards the training camp and then towards the first races. It’s going to be a big year next year.

“We’ve already met the new riders in the UAE team camp and now, in December, we’ll have another one. So, I think we have a pretty good team and there will be great atmosphere at the races.”

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