Pogačar: I am just a kid from Slovenia
Stress refers to the continuous physical force applied to an object, and it can also describe the feeling that a person feels when being persuaded or intimidated to do something. To win the Tour de France championship, you need to compete for first place in many ways, such as stepping on the pedal harder than any rival when going uphill. Relatively speaking, this is only a simple part. The pressure on the driver's heart, whether it is caused by others or by himself, cannot be calculated with power.
Last week, we have witnessed Dumoulin succumbing to such pressure. He is the overall champion of the Giro d'Italia and almost won the Tour de France championship. Dumoulin frankly told the public that he was struggling because he chose the special life path of a professional cyclist. From a certain perspective, the definition of "champion" is not just the first to cross the finish line.
Winning the Tour de France championship means that you have surpassed the sport and your entire life will be changed forever. The pressures that push you toward this goal are everywhere, and they will hit you without warning. When you walk down the street, someone will stop you from taking pictures; the headlines of the newspapers have photos of you wearing the Tour de France yellow shirt. Soon, these became the focus of everyone's comments and questions: "Can you continue to win the next Tour de France?" And the first victory you just won has been gradually forgotten by everyone.
Only Chris Froome successfully defended the Tour de France champion at the turn of the century, and this is because he is completely a monster. It is because of how his body can control a bicycle. It is because of the nervousness and tension he faced with these steps. When under pressure, he still has an extremely positive temperament. It is because of Chris Froome's perseverance and determination to recover from injuries and return to the game and win the game, and to face the tremendous pressure of countless cameras every time he falls behind during the comeback season. .
If it is an adult who already has a family, it may feel normal and acceptable when subjected to this kind of scrutiny, because they have chosen this life themselves. But when the people who won this game are just a group of seemingly precocious miracle boys, you will hope that they can have more buffer time before this series of pressures pounce on them. It's like a resort that is rarely visited by people, after being famous, it was contaminated by more tourists from all over the world.
In 2019, Egan Bernal became the first Tour de France champion from Colombia, but what everyone can't see is how much pressure Egan Bernal has suffered from the expectations of fans during the preparation year. At the same time, Remco Evenepoel often talked about the fact that he had to bite the bullet and face the eyes of everyone at the age of 19, becoming the focus of it, and the tremendous pressure during the competition. You know, you need to use more than one hand to count the number of times he won.
Back to the topic, Pogačar is from Slovenia. This is a small country with a population of just over two million, and it is also a paradise for cyclists. In two hours, you can stand under the Alps or bathe in the sun by the coastline. After shocking the world with 20 victories in big and small competitions, Pogačar ushered in a series of TV interviews, drug control, and podium tasks, and then rushed to accept more interviews from reporters. They tried their best to ask the new star in the yellow jersey: "Who are you?"
"I'm just a kid from Slovenia." Pogačar replied, "I have two sisters and a younger brother. I don't know what to say... I like to do interesting things, such as I like to enjoy life and do small things. Things. So this kind of stressful interview is too much for me, and I really don’t know what to say about me."
When the 21-year-old came to the fore in the second half of the race, the people on the team bus discussed that if you look at him, you can't see the strength at all. Pogačar was relaxed and stress-free. After the race, he called his girlfriend, the professional biker Urska Zigart of the BikeExchange team, and told her that everything was fine.
Even in the brutal seventeenth stage, when he was riding Col de La Loze, he was 15 seconds behind Roglič, and Pogačar admitted relaxedly: "The race seems to be really done." Finding that he was nearly a minute behind the driver of the same country, Pogačar was still satisfied with the second place he achieved in the first Tour de France. This is only his second time participating in a large-scale competition. Of course, the matter has not simply ended in this way.
A year ago, Pogačar met Sean McNicholl in Leeds, England, who was driving behind Pogačar in preparation for the upcoming World Championships in Yorkshire. Two days later it was Pogačar’s birthday. The Slovenian team and staff celebrated him with a cake at the hotel that night. And exactly a year later, on the eve of his 22nd birthday, Pogačar won his yellow jersey.
"The first time I heard about him was in 2017. It was during the Ras race in Ireland." McNicholl told reporters on the day Pogačar rode to Paris in September last year. "He himself was not there, but his team was there. I remember Hauptman and Marco Polanc also came with this young team. This is a very good young team with great potential, but it is a little bit close to winning on Ras."
"I still remember Andrej telling me that we still had a driver who was supposed to be here, but he had to study so he couldn't come. At this moment, he mentioned the name of Pogačar. He said that if Pogačar was there, they would definitely win. Next game. I still remember my reaction at the time, thinking "Oh, okay" in my heart disapprovingly. But then I learned that he was right."
After the Tour de France, Pogačar took part in the World Championships again, as teammates with his rival Roglič, who was defeated by him. Next, when it was time to take a break, Pogačar left the team and Zigart for vacation, and no one could contact him. When Pogačar left, his teammates received a watch from him as a gift from him to thank everyone for helping him stand on the podium. As for what reward Pogačar gave himself? "Have a few great dinners with my girlfriend." Pogačar told the media in 2021.
Later, Pogačar told everyone on the Dubai Link that he had been injected with the new crown vaccine there, and now he has antibodies, and he is familiar with some new conditions of the team, and is ready for the upcoming new preparation season. Since the last time we saw Pochaga, people have wondered how his life has changed, but he said that except for some new duties and people will stop him on the street, he still lives the same as before life.
"Has your lifestyle changed? For example, moving to a larger apartment?" a reporter asked Pogačar during an interview.
"No, I have no plans to move to a larger apartment. I'm only 22 years old and don't need a big house. I live with my girlfriend now. We enjoy our life in this small apartment. We don't need to change anything. Thing, because we have a good time here."
The age of the Tour de France champion is constantly refreshing towards the younger age. They also find it incredible to be able to win the championship. For other people who have worn the Tour de France yellow jerseys in the past ten years, such as Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas, etc., this is what they have done almost everything to win. The life of young drivers like Egan Bernal and Pogačar can be said to have just begun.
Egan Bernal experienced a gloomy year after winning the Tour de France. When a reporter asked Pogačar if he would worry about the same situation, he replied: "In fact, this is also something I fear every year. I am afraid of bad luck or some Bad things happen. But I have spent a wonderful part of my cycling career, and if any bad luck comes to me, I hope I can get better."
When McNicholl talked about how Pogačar handled the Tour de France championship, he said: "We never know. You can't know what kind of mentality they accept it. I think it all depends on how they handle it. There are many great people around Pogačar, and they will never allow his mentality to change badly. If Pogačar becomes very arrogant or this type of person, his parents will walk into his room and talk to him. No Everyone will have this change, but some people do. I don’t think this will happen to Pogačar."
"And Pogačar is totally unaware of how good he is as a cyclist." McNicholl added, "This personality has laid a good foundation for his development. I guess Pogačar has not experienced Roglič's That kind of pressure is normal, because all he is doing is riding a bike with a group of friends, which is also how he looks at the game."
"He is one of these outstanding and beautiful teenagers I have ever met. He will always set aside time for those around him, always like this. He doesn't know how good he is, he just enjoys doing everything. It's not that interesting The thing is, Pogačar needs to repeat his winning story many times within 3 weeks."
When Pogačar was asked if he was tired of talking about the 2020 Tour de France, he said: "This is a good question."
"My idea has always been that we can look forward and don't always stay in the past. In my heart, I am already thinking about the next game, I will overtake them one by one. I don't want to forget the past, but I also I don't want to keep thinking about the past."
"I still want to prove myself that there are many games in the world that I can win, and I still have sufficient motivation. But at the same time, I also want to take a break from time to time."