(Image credit ranking: Getty Pictures)
All-time cycling gigantic Eddy Merckx has delivered a scathing evaluation of Jumbo-Visma‘s technique within the Tour de France, arguing that, if Primož Roglič lost the plod, in mountainous piece the group absorb handiest themselves responsible.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Merckx advised the French newspaper that Jumbo-Visma had played with fireplace by allowing Tadej Pogačar to dwell so shut to the tip of the general rating so leisurely into the plod, enabling the young Slovenian to pounce within the final time trial.
Pogačar modified into as soon as 57 seconds within the abet of Roglič earlier than Saturday’s dramatic time trial, which saw Roglič ousted from yellow after main for virtually two weeks.
Asked by L’Equipe if he modified into as soon as bowled over on the trend things played out within the Vosges barely 24 hours earlier than the plod reaches Paris, Merckx answered: “Below no circumstances. Build a question to my wife and the other folks I’m shut to, I’ve been asserting for days that Roglič’s 50 seconds were no longer sufficient to make certain of successful.
“I could maybe most likely survey Pogačar coming a mile off, and I had stated the preferrred resolution he had modified into as soon as to help for the TT, ensuing from time modified into as soon as taking part in into his hands.
“He’s handiest 21, he’s plenty more energizing than Roglič. We would possibly maybe most likely survey that over the closing few days. He knew he didn’t want to attack, ensuing from Jumbo were stronger. He factual needed to cruise below the radar slightly earlier than the time trial.”
Warming to his point, Merckx argued that Jumbo-Visma had “above all, raced stupidly. For the closing three weeks, they’ve been all out, no longer letting a thing happen, but they factual forgot this young lad at 50 seconds [57 seconds – Ed.] What a mistake to invent!
“They’ve been hoist by their very absorb petard, they went having a sit down up for this defeat. It modified into as soon as certain that Pogačar wasn’t going to attack them, he couldn’t topple them within the mountains. But they must absorb tried to topple him plenty earlier, so they would possibly maybe most likely glean sufficient of a hole on him. It’s an actual lesson in cycling.”
Merckx argued to L’Equipe that Jumbo-Visma had “maybe forgotten the pictures of the 2019 Vuelta” – where Pogačar placed third and won three phases – asserting that riders did not pull off feats admire that at 20 with out being massively proficient.
As for whether Pogačar shaped piece of a fresh generation of racers alongside racers admire Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Hasty Step) or Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Merckx modified into as soon as also slightly dismissive.
“Let’s no longer glean ahead of ourselves with Remco, he hasn’t shown something else up to now. He talks plenty but I’m waiting to have a look on the the leisure. I’m no longer optimistic if Pogačar’s victory is correct news for him – that’s putting the bar fine excessive.
“Bernal wasn’t so staunch this year, we’d absorb to have a look at what he’s admire when he’s abet within the thick of the motion to have a look at if he’s able to be Pogačar’s rival within the years to come abet.”