Slovenian Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) says he’s uncertain if the time is right for him to win a grand tour, despite being considered a favourite for the Vuelta a España starting Saturday in Alicante.
Insiders and rivals have him marked as the favourite to win the three week Spanish tour ahead of other stars including Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Miguel Angel López (Team Astana).
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“I know that many consider me the favourite,” Roglič told Marca newspaper.
“I really don’t know if I am, but I come well prepared.”
Roglič placed fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France. In the 2019 Giro d’Italia, he went in as the favourite. He led the race for five days and won two stages. However, he faded to third overall when the race finished in Verona.
In his favour, Roglic counts on a strong Jumbo-Visma team, with Steven Kruijswijk in the ranks. The Dutchman last month finished third overall in the Tour de France, where his team won four stages.
That Dutch WorldTour team will be called into action already on Saturday when the Vuelta kicks off with a 13.4km team time trial in Alicante.
“I do not look at rivals,” Roglic said. “I only think of myself and I have a great team, I count on that.”
“The favourite is Roglič, a complete cyclist,” said Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), the 2016 winner.
“He’s superior in the time trial. However, with our team we have to see how we can counter him.”
Besides the team time trial, Quintana must worry about the individual test over the border in France. Stage 10 covers 36.2km in Pau and could swing the race in favour of riders like Roglič and Kruijswijk.
“The time trial is long, but you have to defend yourself,” Quintana said.
“I have come with a good team, as always, and together with Alejandro Valverde I hope to play for the overall, but we will see how my body responds. I hope I have recovered well after the Tour.”
Quintana’s team is down one rider losing Richard Carapaz.
The 2019 Giro winner fell in a criterium and overnight, his Movistar team announced he was too injured to race the Vuelta.