Who is Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar?

A brief history of the 22-year-old rider, who took the 2020 race by storm

22 September 2020
Cyclist Tadej Pogacar in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader riding along a street in Paris
By Connexion journalist

Tadej Pogacar is a name that has sprung to international attention since he won the 2020 Tour de France.

This year's race was always going to be different - coronavirus ensured that. It prompted masked team presentations in Nice and forced director Christian Prudhomme to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus. But it turned into one of the most enthralling races for years, thanks in no small part to eventual winner, Slovenian rider Pogacar - who won the race from compatriot Primoz Roglic, who finished second.

But who is the young racer from Komenda, who now lives in Monaco with his partner, fellow Slovenian professional cyclist Urska Zigart?

According to one story, he was spotted by Road World Championship medallist Andrej Hauptman, who is also head coach and head of selectors for the Slovenian national cycling team in 2011, when he was riding some 100m behind a group of much older riders in a race.

Thinking the young rider was struggling to keep up, Hauptman urged race organisers to provide some assistance - only to be told the younger rider was in fact about to lap the group he was chasing.

Here are five things you may not know about the very different rookie winner of the very different 2020 Tour de France.

  • He is the youngest winner of the Tour de France since 1904. He turned 22 the day after he stood on the podium at the Champs-Elysées. Henri Cornet remains the youngest with a record that will probably never be beaten - he was 19 and 354 days old when he won the second-ever race. Interestingly, 30-year-old Roglic was the same age as Pogacar is now when he started cycling, having been a hugely promising ski jumper as a youth
  • As well as the yellow jersey for overall winner, Pogacar also claimed the white jersey for best-placed rider under 25, and the King of the Mountains' polka dot jersey. Only one other rider has won three jerseys in a single Tour - the great Eddie Merckx, in 1968, also on his first Tour.
  • Pogacar, who only turned pro two years ago, is the first Slovenian to win the Tour de France - and one of five competitors in the race from the country of just two-million people that supplied both the winner and runner-up in this year's race
  • He was already the youngest winner of a WorldTour stage race when he triumphed at the Tour of California in 2019
  • On his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España last year, he won three stages, to finish third in the General Classification behind winner Roglič and veteran Alejandro Valverde. He also finished fourth in this year's Criterium.
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