Tadej Pogačar

I was born in Klanec near Komenda. Klanec in Slovenian means slope, and so no wonder I am especially fond of various “slopes”.

My first school was the elementary school in Komenda–Moste, and then I successfully completed the high school of mechanical engineering in Ljubljana. After it, I enrolled at the Faculty of Sports Management in Kranj, but since my racing rhythm and even longer training sessions take a lot of time that could otherwise be devoted to my studies, it may be a little delayed.

Although I really feel at home on the bike, my sports career started with a ball. During the first years of elementary school, I started to train football with the Komenda football team. I think I was quite talented at football too, and I still enjoy playing it. Then a change occurred.

My older brother Tilen started cycling at the Rog Ljubljana cycling club because coach Miha Koncilja was looking for new members and knocked on our door I immediately wanted to imitate my brother, but unfortunately, they didn’t have such a small bike in the club. A few months later, at the age of nine, I started dry winter training. When the races began in spring, a bike was found for me too. My first race was at Trstenik near Kranj, where I had no idea how to race at all – but the coach taught me quickly.

In the following years, I was coached by different coaches, and I received a certain amount of knowledge and experience from each of them. Although they are different, they all had the same goal: to make a good cyclist out of me.

As a boy, I was already included in the national cycling team; racing for it and representing the colors of the country always meant a lot to me. And of course, the support of my family that has always stood by me from a young age in the pursuit of my growing desires and goals.

Because of the consistently good results, I was noticed by the UAE Team Emirates and in July 2018 I signed a contract with the team. Since 2019 I have been racing at the highest level in cycling worldwide. My goal is not just to participate, but to win. In my first Grand Tour, La Vuelta in 2019, I tasted the sweetness of Stage victory 3 times and finished in 3rd place overall. As a child, I used to dream of participating in the race of all races – Tour de France. My dream came true in 2020. Not only did I participate… in the end, I became a new Champion of Tour de France! The fairytale season continued in 2021 with victories in quite a few stage races, including my home race – Tour of Slovenia. The icing on the cake of the exceptional season was defending the victory in the Tour de France and winning the first Slovenian medal in cycling at the Olympic Games.

My first race spring 2008 (photo L. Andrejaš) / Tour de France 2020 (photo: Bettini) / Tour de France 2021 (photo: Bettini)

What does the logo convey about Tadej?

The logo is composed of a wolf head silhouette and Tadej’s initials T and P. Between them is a chainring representing a bike and the letter O, blending with the initials to form the word TOP, meaning that Tadej is an exceptional cyclist who always aims for the top. The plane wings to the left and right symbolise speed and are made of foliage of the bay tree, worn by champions since the ancient times. The image of a wolf with a chainring gripped tightly between its teeth symbolises Tadej mounting a bike and turning into an unrelenting fighter. Furthermore, wolves usually attack in packs, symbolising the team that is always at Tadej’s side to offer him support and shelter. Red is one of Tadej’s favourite colours and also the colour of UAE Team Emirates.