Worlds 'new goal' for Tour winner Pogacar

Imola (Italy) (AFP) –


Road cycling's world championships start this week with Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar eyeing the crown days after crossing the finishing line on the Champs-Elysees.

This year's worlds have been shortened to four races from Thursday to Sunday and moved from Switzerland to Imola in Italy because of local Covid-19 restrictions.

UAE Team Emirates' Pogacar, who became the Tour's youngest champion since 1904 aged 21, will be joined by the man he pipped to the yellow jersey Primoz Roglic in Slovenia colours for Sunday's 258.2km race which starts and ends on the Enzo e Dino Ferrari automobile circuit.

"Now that I won Tour de France, for sure I need to find new goals," Pogacar said after last weekend's win in the French capital.

"I will try to defend my Tour de France title but next is the World Championships, so this is my goal in the coming days.

"In the future, I just want to be at my best and try to win again," he added.

Two members of the Arkea-Samic team have been targeted in a doping investigation since the end of the Grand Boucle but rider Nairo Quintana is set to feature for Colombia this weekend.

Friday's men's time trial pits 2018 Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin against former Tour winner Geraint Thomas.

Thomas will be making his first appearances at the event and expects plenty of competition over the relatively flat 31.7km run.

"I'd like to think I'll be fighting for a medal. I've never ridden a worlds time trial," he told his Watts Occuring podcast.

"I think Filippo Gana. He's going really well. But Wout Van Aert, he's got to be up there. He's not slowing down. Tom Dumoulin, I think he'll be up there fighting for medals.

"It's really short for worlds, and it's not too lumpy either, it's only around 200 metres of climbing. It's right up Gana's street. I'm looking forward to it," he added.

On Thursday the USA's Chloe Dygert defends her women's title against the clock in her first race since winning the rainbow jersey in Yorkshire last September.

The Netherlands' Annemiek van Vleuten is considering competing in Saturday's road race despite fracturing her wrist in last week's Giro Rosa.