The Association of Sports Journalists of Slovenia presented awards to the best athlete and best team of the year in Slovenia at Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana. In the year of a surplus of Slovenian sport, Tadej Pogačar became the athlete of the year for the first time.
Pogačar won the Tour de France for the second time in a row this year, celebrated the premiere victory at two cyclings “monuments” and won a bronze medal in the road race at the Tokyo Olympics. Alongside those achievements he also won a series of one-week stage races and ended the season on the top of UCI rankings with a record-breaking number of points. For the third year in a row, the best athlete in Slovenia is a cyclist. After Primož Roglič won the title twice in a row, he was awarded second place in this year’s voting. In third place, sports journalists put basketball superstar Luka Dončić.
Voting results for Slovenian Sportsman of the year in 2021:
- Tadej Pogačar 262 votes
- Primož Roglič 218 votes
- Luka Dončić 97 votes
Since Tadej is currently fully engaged in training and preparations for the new season, his parents, Marjeta and Mirko Pogačar took the award on his behalf. Tadej spoke briefly via video link and summed up his thoughts in gratitude:
It’s a really prestigious award, especially after a year like this year. An award received in home my country definitely seems like the icing on the cake. I’m truly very happy for this title.
Of course, I’m sorry I can’t be with you. I would like to dress nicely and go to such a solemn event, but unfortunately my team advised me not to attend any events because we are leaving for a training camp in Madonna di Campiglio in two days and it would be foolish if I got infected somewhere. It would be nice to receive the award in person, but the situation is as it is.
Explanation of the Association of Sports Journalists of Slovenia (DŠNS): Tadej Pogačar is such an important man in the world of cycling that he has a contract with the UAE Team Emirates until 2027. We can understand his bosses: they do not want to risk losing the cyclist who won the Tour de France this year, two prestigious classics – Liege-Bastogne -Liege and the race in Lombardy – and the first Slovenian to win an Olympic medal in cycling. He was particularly determined to win at the Tour de France. He broke the competitors before the first rest day, while his solo efforts on ascents in difficult weather conditions impressed the cycling world. He arrived in Paris in a yellow jersey for the second time in a row; many believe he can break the record of five overall victories in a race of all races. We are happy that he also made an important part of the preparations for the Tour de France with a convincing victory in the Tour of Slovenia. Without a doubt, he is currently the best cyclist in the world.
Photo : Alen Milavec