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Today’s stars expect to flame out

Today’s stars expect to flame out

Today’s superstars burn brighter, earlier. Does that mean they’ll burn out earlier, too? These past few years, cycling – all of cycling – has been…

Friday, Oct 14

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Today’s superstars burn brighter, earlier. Does that mean they’ll burn out earlier, too?

These past few years, cycling – all of cycling – has been spoiled by not just the talents who have burst onto the scene but the manner with which they race. Your Tadej Pogačars, Mathieu van der Poels, Wout van Aerts, Remco Evenepoels, Julian Alaphilippes. They race well and often with abandon. They inspire others to race their bikes properly.

Their style hasn’t just been for style’s sake. They’ve been winning too. A lot. Monuments, Grand Tour glory in various fashions, rainbow jerseys – by this point it’s only a surprise when it’s someone not in this upper echelon of the peloton with their outsized prowess that wins the race.

Today’s superstars burn brighter, earlier. Does that mean they’ll burn out earlier, too?

Dominance and superlative ability breed inertia, not in riders, but in the minds of fans. ‘Of course, Pogačar will win,’ many said before this summer’s Tour de France. We said it. You probably said it.

Although he did not, he still took an impressive 16 victories this season, as a 24-year-old. That included Strade Bianche and title defences of Il Lombardia and Tirreno-Adriatico. Even with three stage wins along the way, Pogačar’s Tour defeat was seemingly a blip, an appetiser for the fights to come between the Slovenian and his Danish rival Jonas Vingegaard.

That’s why an acknowledgement in Kate Wagner’s interview with Tadej Pogačar that he may only have half a decade of his career left was so […]

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