Primož Roglič has revealed the tactical changes that will be made by Jumbo-Visma at the Tour de France this summer as he tries to rebound from last year's failure to take the yellow jersey to Paris.
Having being forced to miss the Dutch team's first training camp of the year after a coronavirus positive was detected in his immediate circle, the Slovenian appeared via video link from his home in Monaco in a pre-recorded interview session to talk about his plans for the year ahead.
The 31-year-old will start his season with a Paris-Nice debut, before also making a first appearance at the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne, as well as defending his title at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
After that, Roglič's attention will turn to his main goals of the summer.
"I will do a big altitude camp, and also maybe do some recons [ahead of the Tour de France], and definitely after the Tour the Olympic Games, that's a big goal also, because it's every four years," Roglič said. "The way the road race is, it's quite challenging, and I think it will be good to be part of it."
Roglič will, of course, look to arrive in Brest for the Grand Départ at as high a level as possible, having poured over every detail of a parcours that should suit him better than last year, containing more flat time trial kilometres. Although, team boss Richard Plugge claims last year's victor Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) is still the man to beat at the moment, and that the team need to find two and a half time trialling minutes to make up on the younger Slovenian.
Alongside the Ineos Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma will likely bring the strongest squad to France this July, with Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk also contenders for the yellow jersey. After last year, however, a pecking order appears to have been cemented, with Dumoulin suggesting he and Kruijswijk will be 'shadow leaders' at the race.
"I hope to be in top shape and really to be able to fight it out for the win," Dumoulin said. "And, of course, Primož has that same goal and that same mindset. And he also has more.
"The last few years he has been the best rider in the world. So we definitely have him as a leader going into it. But we have me and Steven Kruijswijk, I guess, as shadow leaders. And then it all depends on how it goes. So we don't necessarily make a clear plan that we only go for Primož, but definitely, he's our main guy."
Roglič is on the same page in this regard, saying the team will need to utilise their two other GC men so that rivals don't just have to beat the Slovenian to beat the Dutch team.
"Like Tom said, in that case, we have to push the others to do some more things, and it will again hopefully not just be on me," Roglič said. "Because then everyone just has one guy to control or look out for. But if Tom or Steven goes, the rest need to move. We need to be as good as possible and to always force the race to go into our direction."
Plugge also believes Dumoulin and Kruijswijk could win the Tour de France, "100%". However, this summer Roglič will look to put his demons to bed on a Tour route that provides all the motivation he should need.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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