'Sometimes I feel sorry for Van Aert and Evenepoel': Primož Roglič speaks about the pressure put on Belgian stars

The three time Vuelta a España winner compares the pressure on Slovenian ski jumpers to Belgian cyclists

Primož Roglič riding Milano-Torino 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Primož Roglič says that he sometimes feels sorry for his team-mate Wout van Aert, as well as rival Remco Evenepoel, due to the pressure put on the Belgian stars. 

Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who is preparing for his final race of the season at the Monument, Il Lombardia, was full of praise for Van Aert, who is currently on an extended break off the bike. 

Slovenian star Roglič has had yet another superb season and has reached win number 60 at the recent Milano-Torino where he overpowered Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) on the final climb.

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In an interview with Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad, Roglič said: "Sometimes I feel sorry for him. And with Evenepoel too. Expectations in Belgium are always so high. In that respect I am lucky in Slovenia. Everything has to do with tradition. Slovenia is a country of winter sports. What young cyclists in Belgium know, young skiers in Slovenia have: also a huge pressure."

Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Van Aert have been in a back and forth in the press since the World Championships, with Evenepoel saying he wasn't happy with his role and Van Aert adding the young Belgian knew what he signed up for.

"Besides, you are spoiled," Roglič continued. "In Belgium they are no longer happy with a second or third place. It should always be the best of the best. 

"Look at Wout in the time trial. I've been at home with my family in front of the TV screaming for him to win. And what does it matter in the end? A few seconds. But that's not enough for him anymore. That is a problem. Even if it doesn't really matter. 

"Even without a win at the World Championships or in Paris-Roubaix, Van Aert remains by far the best rider in one-day races of the entire peloton."

Roglič also revealed that his coach, Marc Lamberts, told him not to ride the time trial at the Olympic Games after a poor showing in the road race, but he ignored him and went to win by a healthy margin.

This was then backed up with a dominant display at the Vuelta a España, which he won for a third year on the bounce, becoming only the third rider in history to pull off the achievement.

When asked if Van Aert and himself have ever spoken about who the better all-rounder is, Roglič laughed and said: "No. Maybe we should do that sometime. He is such a nice guy. It is a pleasure to ride with him in the team. But to answer the question: I think he is even more all-round. Wout can also ride cyclocross like the best, while I've never even done that." He paused. "I should really give that a try."

Roglič will be racing to try and win his second career Monument on Saturday, October 9 at Il Lombardia with the testing 239km course from Como to Bergamo over several tough climbs against some of the world's best riders.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.