Jumbo Visma is considered the best team in the world, but they are always looking for improvement. “Things have to be changed. You have to dare, but in the end you find out whether the matter was good or not,” captain Primož Roglič was in a good mood in the holiday podcast SOS-odmev.
Host of the SOS-Echo podcast Slavko Jerič and Tony Gruden they hosted the 100th anniversary episode Primož Roglič, which is slowly finishing its preparations for the Race of Catalonia in Tenerife. This will serve as the only real test before the Giro d’Italia, which he plans to win this year.
You recently said at a press conference that your shoulder no longer bothers you. Do the numbers show that? Are they what you wanted them to be?They are. Everything is going as you would like. But with all my experience, I will say that the races are the ‘real numbers’ (laughs). Let’s wait a bit and we will quickly see what these numbers really show.
Speaking of numbers, let’s also think about you. Cycling is always progressing, and with it the performances and rider numbers. Tadej Pogačar, for example, on last year’s Tour, spun the highest watts in his career up to that time, but he was defeated for the first time. Are you following this wattage game too?In today’s cycling, watts are the basis through which, of course, we train and monitor them every day. It forces us all to develop. This applies to all areas, development in the training itself, definitely the technology itself, the equipment that develops, because it is always faster. In the end, it makes the biggest difference. If we compare the times themselves on the slopes, they are always faster, the watts were always high there. All in all, this means that it always goes faster and faster.
They might be a little intimidating for you cycling beginners. The followers of the Tour were even more frightened by your words at the Tour, when you described the Granon stage as stabbing them in the back. How bad was it on your pain scale from 1 to 10?Yes, 10 or more (laughs). However, this is difficult to assess. What does that mean? 10, 90 or 100? In any case, it was very bad. As for the watts, the more the better. The opposite is true for kilograms, the fewer the better (laughs).
Speaking of knives, today (the conversation was recorded on Friday, op. a.) a documentary about the Tour was released. You were also shown getting knocked down while making a key move for the final victory. Did they really have to convince you to resign in the end? Or did you simply give the last straw for the team’s success at that stage? This other. I always persevere to the last possible limit, I usually go a little over, so that it really is ‘ziher’. But it must have been very ‘ziher’ in this case, that I was at the upper limit, that I did all that I could do.
Did you watch the documentary beforehand?No, I haven’t watched it yet. I am very reluctant to watch all these things myself. I catch enough of the other comments. I don’t need to waste time on all these things.
In last year’s Tour, due to an injury, you were relegated to the role of (super) assistant after a long time. We saw how extremely important he and Wout van Aert were to Jonas Vingegaard’s final victory. Does this experience change your view of the role of assistants?Maybe you appreciate them even more. You learn over the years, as you gain experience, you definitely become a wiser and wiser person. I appreciated them before. Usually, there is only one person standing on stage, but the whole team is behind him. It’s definitely the seven closest teammates, but also the entire staff and family that makes it all happen.
From now on, Slovenian assistant Jan Tratnik is also with you. It’s no secret that they are good friends, and last but not least, he was also a groomsman at your wedding. The photo from the training was interesting, when you had (non-alcoholic) beer, and Tratnik had coffee or some other drink. Is beer a captain’s privilege (laughs)?After all these years, the captaincy must be familiar (laughs). Jan is a really great person. I am very happy that he has joined us, he has brought added value to the whole team. We also have mechanic Jan in the team, which created a small Slovenian team in the Dutch team. But if I go back to non-alcoholic beer – fine! We drink enough water, in warm weather it is certainly good to drink something else as well.
Speaking of assistants, after the Tour last year there was talk of additional help from video analysts. How much did this get to you? In the end, it’s the details that decide, there are a lot of these things. Even in these areas you can study, study, complicate, you have a thousand things, but in the end something has to be done. Someone has to be the first to take that responsibility and carry it out. Our team is growing in all areas, even in the tactical area we want to be in contact with the best.
Jumbo Visma is the best team in the world. Progress requires thinking outside the box. Your team changed a lot of equipment over the winter. Do you agree with the assessment ‘standing still is actually regressing’?Things need to change – both in life and in all areas. You have to dare, but in the end you find out whether the matter was good or not. Sometimes you have to go back because the original solution was better. When it comes to changing equipment, it is partly about sponsor matters, partly about better matters. You take a step in the direction you want to be better. As for changing the Shimano – Sram, it is much less annoying or simpler than the changes we had with shoes and pedals. There, the exchange was more complicated. Gears are more about the keys than not. The most questionable is the reliability of the systems, everything is electricity. If the battery fails, then nothing works. This should be avoided. We’ll see, in training things are working for now. We haven’t raced much this year, we got even better data there. The results will tell how things work.
The undisputed highlight of the first part of the season is the Giro, which is a really demanding race, with many challenging climbs and time trials, which of course suits you. But if I asked you for the recipe for victory, you would probably say that it is necessary from day to day, from stage to stage. These are such long races that a lot can be decided even on paper by an easy stage.It’s true. You just have to be the fastest every day (laughs). The pink shirt must be worn after the stage that ends in Rome (last stage, op. a.). The Giro is extremely demanding, there will be a lot of time trials. I hope that the shoulder surgery can make it a little more aerodynamic (laughs) and I can get some more rides against the best time trialists in the world and direct rivals for the final win.
The bookies say you are second favourite, ahead of only Remco Evenepoel. Is he also the main competitor in your eyes? Would you like to single out anyone else?This is always a rather thankless question. After all, there will be almost 200 very prepared and motivated cyclists at the start. In the end, the best will win. Remco definitely belongs among the top favorites. He has really shown a lot in recent years. Many chronometers fit it too. But let’s start first and get to Rome, and then we’ll see who is the best.
In the decade since you entered this sport, cycling has progressed even more and also specialized, more and more young people are taking up this sport. Based on this, we could conclude that it is increasingly difficult to achieve success. How do you see it?A lot of people from my generation are no longer in cycling (laughs). It’s true, young people are really extremely strong, practically even before the age of 20 they can compete with the best, which is sometimes difficult to understand, but on the other hand, with this development of knowledge, what it takes to be the best and early specialization, these shifts are happening . I myself had never been on a bike before the age of 22, but today cyclists at that age get three-week races.
We are living in the golden age of Slovenian cycling. Unfortunately, there is a divide among some fans. Instead of enjoying the successes. What is your relationship with Tadej Pogačar, who is not least your fellow citizen?(Laughter). In good! It seems stupid to complicate things, but we are human. Everyone has the right to express themselves and comment. Let these sweet worries last as long as possible (laughs).
For now, it has not been announced that they would meet, especially in stage races. Will we ever see you again in a stage race as captains?Precisely because of this separation, we said to each other, ‘it’s better that you race this and you race that’, so that we have everything covered and we won’t argue (laughs). We’ll see. From past experiences, you never know where you will end up. The season has to start and we will comment at the end.
There are a lot of sweet worries if we think about the third Slovenian to win the monument. Matej Mohorič published a book last year. Your wife wrote a book about your first Vuelta victory. Can we ever expect anything to spring from your fingers?Probably not under my fingers (laughs). But I believe that someday I will write something. My wife Lora likes to write. I believe that she will manage to find some more time to write. We’ll see what the future brings.
You take the stairs and don’t use the elevator, you also run during the three-week races. With this, you have broken quite a few taboos.Someone has to see that it’s okay (laughs).
We know that you usually show up to the race with just the desire for the ultimate victory. If we got Catalonia next month, we’d get a sixth major one-week race, leaving only Switzerland. In a beautiful constellation of fate, you might be able to do it this year. Are you seriously interested in these kinds of achievements? Are you looking for such historical challenges?Definitely. These are things that no one has ever achieved. That’s why such things are interesting, creating cycling history, but first we have to start with Catalonia and my return after all these months. To see where, what and how things stand.
You are invited to listen to the entire episode (click on the picture below), where the following topics are also discussed: − Does he have time to listen to music or podcasts during training. − Does he also use his bicycle for errands around town.− About the goals he wants , but it may be very difficult to achieve them. − The end of the stage of the Race around Catalonia with the finish in Barcelona.− What is the name of the second son.− A possible return to the Race around Slovenia.− Does he remember his first jump over 100 meters.− Did he ever win 100th place.