Can Tadej Pogacar win Paris-Roubaix? Cycling news

Posted on 07/04/2022 19:15

Following the rumor spread online about the participation of Tadej Pogakar in Pari-Rouba, we are seriously asking ourselves: does the Slovenian have a chance in Hell of the North?

Will Tadej Pogacar leave Paris-Roubaix this season?

A few posts posted on Twitter were enough to spread a huge rumor. Tadej Pogacar could prove himself at the start 119and edition of Paris-Roubaix, Sunday 17 April. At first, the story had all the turns of a joke. Before the great classics campaign even started, Will Newton, journalist Global network of contextual advertising, asked the Slovenian about his chances of participating in the “Hell of the North” after he “won Milan-San Remo” and the “Tour of Flanders”. To this apparently fictional interrogation, Tadej Pogacar stated: A little (Not so much) in response to this tweet along with a laughing emoji that perfectly illustrates her teasing tone.

Tadej Pogacar says his chances of participating in Paris-Roubaix are “not great” | Screenshot from Twitter

This spirit is shared by his companion Urska Siegart, also a professional cyclist from Team BikeExchange – Jayco. Last fall, on the sidelines of the 2022 Tour de France launch, the couple were particularly enamored with the canvas, racing down the Champs-Elysées on Vélib like mere tourists. Last Sunday, she entertained a tweet from a journalist asking for a quote from her favorite cyclist, naturally responding with a personal photo of her man. This little story could have ended, but Tadej Pogacar decided to add a layer to it by republishing this answer mentioning ” See you in Paris-Roubaix? “, always accompanied by the same emoji. That ignite Twitter, seeing a spark of a deafening explosion there. The fire was fueled the next day by a selfie posted on the same network showing the two-time Tour winner in front of the Trouée d’Arenberg, the mythical cobbled sector of Paris-Roubaix. All this added to his show of strength in the mountains of Ronde van Flanderen, nothing less was needed to fuel many fantasies.

Will Urska Siegart and Tadej Pogacar share the Paris-Roubaix pavement?Will Urska Siegart and Tadej Pogacar share the Paris-Roubaix pavement? | Screenshot from Twitter

Rest assured, this year we are unlikely to see Tadej Pogacar fall at the Roubaix velodrome. His recent passage through the Hauts de France has no other explanation than his recognition of the fifth stage of the Tour, consisting of 19.4 km of boulders scattered across eleven sectors, arriving at Vallers-Arenberg, close to the famous trench. . Since then, the Slovenian didn’t have to put in much effort to capture this shot, as any cycling fan would probably do. In addition, when you have two Tours de France and two Monuments on your account, when you are preparing for Liege-Bastogne-Liège and aiming for a triple in July, you do not allow yourself such a change of program at the last moment. ., especially not to go 260 kilometers of a particularly dangerous race.

Tadej Pogacar posing in front of the Arenberg GorgeTadej Pogacar posing in front of the Arenberg Gorge | © Tadej Pogacar’s Twitter account

Pogacar, light weight but high power

However, this rumor had the right to ask a question. Can Tadej Pogacar win Paris-Roubaix one day? Although it is likely that he will certainly try his luck there in the more or less near future, as Bernard Hinault did in his time, it is less likely that he will actually be able to win at Roubaix. The Hell of the North may even be the only monument that will stand before him at the end of his career.

This consideration is especially due to its light weight. Of course, the weight-to-power ratio that the Slovenian maintains is excellent, as are Julian Alafilippe or Alejandro Valverde, whose physical parameters are similar. Because it’s a ratio, both the numerator and denominator come into play. One can be powerful, but heavy, which helps to stress it down. That’s why clean sprinters struggle so much on paved hills. Conversely, the data shows us that current champions are able to develop similar abilities while gaining significantly less mass. Therefore, this report has been enlarged. The force developed by the runner carries less of his weight and thus allows him to pick up speed. This explains the convincing experience of the best punchers in the peloton at the Tour of Flanders (8and spot for Alejandro Valverde in 2019, top three for Julian Alaphilippe until his fall in 2020, 4and seat for Tadej Pogacar in 2022).

Tadej Pogacar was unable to overtake Mathieu van der Poel on the cobbled hills of the Tour of Flanders.Tadej Pogacar fails to overtake Mathieu van der Poel in the cobbled mountains of the Tour of Flanders | © Tour of Flanders

Zero advantage over Paris-Roubaix

However, this effect noticeably disappears when the road levels out. Indeed, with a zero or almost zero slope, the mass of the runner hampers his movement much less. This explains why “big hips”, such as Arnaud Demar in particular, concentrate exclusively on the “Northern Hell” to the detriment of his cousin Rhonda. Therefore, lightness is no longer of any use. On the contrary, it is a certain inconvenience. The following graph demonstrates this theory. Paris-Roubaix clearly figures there as the monument most favorable to the heavyweights of the peloton, in contrast to Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy, two great classics that Tadej Pogacar has on his list.

The weight factor actually seems more convincing on Paris-Roubaix than on Liège-Bastogne-Liège or the Tour of Lombardy.The weight factor seems more convincing on Paris-Roubaix than on Liège-Bastogne-Liège or the Tour of Lombardy | © Bike 101

In fact, the performances that the Slovenian has shown so far at the Monuments are completely correlated with these results. He won two races with the lowest average weight, was in the game to win the next two, and yet gave up Paris-Roubaix, the latter. His recent performances in Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders even symbolize the difficulties he faces in this conquest. From the moment that the kick is no longer the only deciding factor, Tadej Pogacar refuses to compete with other opponents with the opposite profile. He was undoubtedly the strongest in Poggio and in Paterberg. None of his rivals dare to challenge him. But when they manage to resist him on the climbs, they immediately take over as soon as the last peak is overcome. For good reason, Tadej Pogacar is quite fast in the sprint, but can only hope to win when he is up against climbers who are punchers like him. Faced with Van Aert, Van der Poel and others, his chances of triumph are greatly diminished. So the simulation video game Pro Cycling Manager 2021 gives Tadej Pogacar only 70 points in the sprint, compared to 79 for the other two given monsters.

Thus, to win Paris-Roubaix, Tadej Pogacar must be…lucky

For a Team UAE Emirates rider to win the Classissima, Ronde or Inferno of the North without relying on a significant amount of luck in the final package, he must be able to present himself at the finish line alone. …finish or at least get rid of a better sprinter than him. If the task is relatively easy in Doyenne or Tours of Lombardy, it is not so easy in the first two cities, and even more difficult in Paris-Roubaix. However, this is not impossible. Far from there. The Klanets native has a Herculean strength that helps him even on flat ground. If he showed himself at the start of Compiègne, it would be especially difficult for him to let go of the pedal. And any pavement winner, taking advantage of a large fortune, could maliciously extricate himself from a group of heavyweights who did not want to cooperate. So Niki Tepstra benefited from such circumstances in 2014, just as Johan Vansummeren did three years earlier. In this undertaking, of course, his amazing abilities against time will greatly help him.

Tadeus Pogacar will certainly have to do this several times to be honored with raising the pavement. But his competitive temperament will surely push him to try, since he has won almost everything in the world of the Little Queen. This season, the Slovenian is already tied with four of the five Monuments, unheard of for a Tour winner since Greg Lemond in 1986. The new giant of cycling knows enough about his sport to realize the magnitude that this Grand Slam will have. In doing so, he joined the legendary Eddy Merckx and Roger De Vleminck.

Jean Guillaume Langronier

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