Primož Roglič looks forward to rest of the Tour with its challenges

As things stand, Roglič is currently fourth overall, 1:36 behind the leader. This might seem concerning for his supporters, but it’s his best first rest day position since he wore the yellow jersey on stage 9 in 2020, after the Pyrenees. In contrast, 2021 saw him abandon due to crashes in Brittany, and in 2022, injuries from a fall on Roubaix’s cobbles led to an early exit after the Alps. This year, he bypassed the Tour altogether, focusing on the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

This year, his teammate Aleksandr Vlasov had to quit the Tour due to a broken ankle sustained in a fall on stage 9. Roglič paid tribute to Vlasov, acknowledging the significant loss for their team. “He’s a big help in the mountains, and it’s a big loss for our team,” Roglič said. “He’s shown how strong he was in all the races we did together, but in the end these are the facts. We can’t change those, it is how it is.”

Positive Outlook and Performance

Roglič expressed optimism about his own performance so far. “It’s been a long time since I felt so good on the first rest day of the Tour,” he noted. Reflecting on the first week’s challenges, he admitted, “We lost some time in Bologna, a bit more in the Galibier, some more in the TT, but that’s a part of racing.” Despite the setbacks, he remained hopeful, saying, “I still just want to keep on the right track, get through the race and get into the final.”

When discussing the gravel stage, Roglič acknowledged he wasn’t among the attacking riders. “When they ride a bit slower, I’ll have a bit more of an option, but as long as they ride so hard and fast, they will be harder to beat,” he remarked with his classic deadpan humour. He added, “Let’s wait and see, it’s still the first week, there are still two weeks to go.”

Future Challenges and Potential

Asked about the key to success in the decisive third week, Roglič responded simply, “Have the strongest legs, eh?” He also addressed concerns about descents, humorously noting, “At the moment I’m quite confident going downhill, also I enjoy it. I have a lot more problems going uphill rather than downhill, if I’m honest.”

Speculation about Roglič’s potential non-selection for the Olympic Games and his prospects for a fourth Vuelta a España win were rife. Despite the uncertainty, Roglič remained determined to do his best. “You always still need to be there with the best ones, you cannot afford to say – now I’ll lose 10 minutes and then get it back.”

Throughout the press conference, it was clear that Roglič’s focus remains on performing to the best of his abilities, regardless of whether he is targeting first, second, or even tenth place. “If I do my best, and the team too, then we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and be happy. Because that’s something we can manage and something we can do.”