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.
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.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab), 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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