MONTREAL – Tour de France runner-up Tadej Pogacar said his victory at the Montreal Cycling Grand Prix has left him “happy and confident” in the build-up to the UCI Road World Championships in Australia.
Slovenia’s Pogacar, who narrowly missed out on a third successive Tour de France title this year, held off Belgian Wout van Aert to claim the win in Montreal.
“It was perfect in the end, it was difficult because we know that Wout is one of the best sprinters in the world but this is a tough finish and I believed in myself and I gave it everything and I succeeded. It’s incredible,” the UAE Team Emirates rider said according to Reuters.
“After the Tour I was not in good shape, I was relaxing and building up to this final part and today was a super good day so I’m really happy and confident to go to the World Championships.
“With the national team, it is always a bit trickier but I´m confident I’m in good shape.”
The World Championships take place from Sept. 17 to 25 around Wollongong, a coastal city 80km south of Sydney.
The quintet broke away on the 18th and final climb, setting up a brutal battle to the finish.
With just over 3km remaining Briton Adam Yates and France’s David Gaudu launched their final attacks, Gaudu hitting the front before Pogacar reeled him in with van Aert on his wheel.
“It was not just the sprint, but the whole race was hard, and the team worked super good. It was perfect,” Pogacar said according to AFP.
“In the end, it was difficult because we know that Wout is one of the best sprinters in the world, but this is a tough finish. I believed in myself, gave it everything, and I succeeded.”
Pogacar said the race was just what he needed to prepare for the World Championships after his bid for a third straight Tour de France triumph saw him win three stages but finish second to Jonas Vingegaard.
“It was one of the hardest races in the calendar, you have to be in shape here,” he said.
“After the Tour I was not in good shape, I was relaxing and building up to this final part and today was a super good day so I’m really happy and confident to go to the World Championships.”