Primož Roglič will get a taste of cobbled action this spring as he aims to iron out any potential issues that could once again thwart his pursuit of the Tour de France yellow jersey.
Having secured the overall victory at Paris-Nice this weekend, becoming the newest member of a very select group of riders to have won both the French stage race and Tirreno-Adriatico, the 32-year-old is a late addition to the Jumbo-Visma squad who will take on the GP Denain this coming Thursday.
The French semi-cobbled classic is sometimes called the 'mini-Paris-Roubaix', featuring 12 cobbled sections in the final 100km.
Stage five of this summer's Tour de France from Lille to Arenberg Porte du Hainaut features 11 cobbled sectors over the last 75km, and will be a day in which yellow jersey contenders could see their GC plans become unstuck.
Jumbo-Visma confirmed to Wielerflits that Roglič would step into their squad for Thursday's one-day race and would be joined by Jonas Vingegaard, the young Dane having finished second to reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar at last year's French Grand Tour, as well as runner-up behind the younger Slovenian at the recent Tirreno-Adriatico.
While Pogačar has so far possessed an unnatural ability at staying upright and avoiding mishaps during races, Roglič has often come unstuck at crucial moments. While the 2020 Tour's final time trial stage will always be a headline story of Roglič's career, crashes at the 2019 Giro d'Italia and 2021 Tour de France saw his GC bids fall through.
Giving him and his understudy Vingegaard experience of cobbled racing will likely be part of a plan entering its third year and subsequent iteration to bring the yellow jersey back to the Netherlands with Jumbo-Visma.
Ineos' Adam Yates, Dani Martinez and Jonathan Castroviejo will also ride the GP Denain with a view to going to the Tour de France in July.
For Roglič, Milan - San Remo follows two days after. Then it will be a return to stage racing at the Tour of the Basque Country before Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Then after six weeks of training camps it will be the Dauphiné to build up to the Tour de France, a departure from last year's strategy of limiting race days in the build up to the Grand Boucle.
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