• Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates enroute to winning Stage 15 of the Tour de France (Getty)Source: Getty
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) continued his upward march in the battle for the yellow jersey, though he only clawed back four seconds on Slovenian compatriot Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) with his Stage 15 victory.
By
SBS Cycling Central

14 Sep 2020 - 8:35 AM 

After the race, Pogačar was asked if he was going to be able to take yellow off the shoulders of his elder countryman, who currently sits just 40 seconds ahead of the 21-year-old phenom.

“That’s the plan,” he told reporters after the stage. “The perfect scenario would be to take it on the evening of the final time trial but we live in a real-world, and if there’s a chance to take it I will try.”

Pogačar again looked the strongest of the climbers at the 2020 Tour de France, a trend which has been clear since Stage 8, when he escaped and took 40 seconds on the other GC riders on the ascent of the Col de Peyresourde.

Pogačar salutes Grand Colombier win as top climbers emerge
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) emerged the strongest on the tough ascent of the Grand Colombier, sprinting clear of race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) to claim victory in style.
Slovenian pair dominate stage as Pogačar takes the win with Roglič in yellow
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won Stage 9, after splitting up the race on the final climb of the Col de Marie Blanque then sprinting to the win from the elite group that formed. Roglič finished just behind his countryman in second, enough to take the yellow jersey.
Pogačar delights with Pyrenean assault
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was the best of the general classification candidates during Stage 8 of the Tour de France, attacking twice to rid himself of his rivals for the yellow jersey and taking 40 seconds.

The 21-year-old hasn’t been able to distance Roglič since, with strong teamwork from Jumbo-Visma disincentivising attacks too far out on the major climbs.

"I think Jumbo was really prepared for today,” said Pogačar. “There was, in my point of view, no point to attack."

Pogačar admitted that he was a “little bit surprised” at the extent of his current success, because, as he said, “I never saw myself winning two stages in the Tour, particularly in the first year of my Tour. But I guess this is real so I’m happy about it.”

He was also surprised, he recognised, at the way that defending champion Egan Bernal, Ineos Grenadiers’ main candidate to take the Tour win had collapsed in such spectacular style. “I don’t know what happened to Egan,” he admitted, “but Jumbo set a really hard pace and some riders paid for it.”

“It’s really difficult when so many riders have a hard time,” said Pogačar, “but we still have some strong guys. It would be an honour to wear yellow and I think we could defend it.”

Porte leads into final metres of Grand Colombier climb
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) continues to impress at the Tour de France, again looking the best of the rest of the climbers behind the top two on the general classification.
'I was empty' - Bernal's Tour de France crushed on the Colombier
A second yellow jersey for Egan Bernal lies in tatters as he buckled under the pressure inflicted by the swarm of Primož Roglič's men on the Grand Colombier.

Things are far from certain, even with Pogačar's good history in the third week of Grand Tours, at least in the one he has done to date, when he made a brilliant long-range attack that moved him onto the final podium of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.

“I don’t know what to expect after the rest day,” he said. “This is the Tour, I’ve prepared well but we have to see what could happen. I could explode, or I could go really well. I need to race conservatively and see how my legs feel in the final week.”

Pogačar has a bit of a history of trying to talk down his aggressive tendencies, describing himself upon entry to the WorldTour in 2019 as a defensive climber and saying that to win the Tour would be great 'but it's just a dream'.

Pogačar in a 2019 interview with Velon