After three breathless weeks of racing at the Giro d’Italia, Egan Bernal is pretty in pink and back in the game. I’m so looking forward to intense battles between him and fellow fresh-faced prodigy Tadej Pogačar for the next decade.
But for the here and now, Pogačar is the star feature of our marvellous and many-sided Tour de France issue, which is out now. I set out to deliver a comprehensive portrait of the Slovenian defending champion: show his real personality, talk to the people that know him best and get some original stories.
So alongside managers and team-mates, I phoned up his mum and dad. Marjeta and Mirko didn’t disappoint; they even sent over some photos from the family album for the article. It turns out that shy Tadej is full of surprises – did you know that he used to be a unicyclist? That the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are on his horizon? That his first pro salary was “only” €70,000? (It didn’t stay that way for long).
Will Pog be top dog this year? Well, not according to our very scientific predictor – a booze-fuelled dry run of the 2021 Tour through the medium of a board game, Flamme Rouge. By the end, there was lasagne and mini board game cyclists everywhere. Absurd, but very amusing.
We do both the lowbrow and the highbrow very well here at Rouleur. Philippa York has penned compelling letters from a fictional Lance Armstrong fanatic that chart both the poignant waxing and waning of an obsession and the champion’s transformation from beloved protagonist to sporting Voldemort. As someone who was a teenage supporter at the height of Lancemania, I can relate to many of the emotions that are evoked.
Just three excellent reasons to sign up if you haven’t already for our Tour de France issue, often our bestseller of the year. And that’s not even counting Sean Hardy’s art gallery-worthy front cover.
Andy McGrath | Editor