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 we wanted. 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. For example, at last year’s Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar spun the highest watts in his career up to that time, but he was beaten 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 is developing, because it is getting 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 everything is going faster.
They might be a bit intimidating for cycling beginners. The followers of the Tour de France were even more frightened by your words at the Tour, with which 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 you, 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 de France 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, the other. I always persevere to the last possible limit, I usually go a little beyond 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. As a rule, there is only one person standing on the stage, but behind him is the whole team. It’s definitely the seven closest teammates, but also the entire staff and family that makes it all happen.
Now, 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, in which you were drinking (non-alcoholic) beer, while Tratnik was drinking coffee or some other drink. Is beer a privilege for the captain (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, last year after the Tour de France there was talk of additional help from video analysts. How much did this get to you? In the end, it’s the little things 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 that if you stand still, you are 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 are taking a step in the direction you want to be better. As for changing Shimano and Sram, it is much less disturbing 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 yet, we will get 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 challenging race with a lot of challenging climbs and time trials that suit 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. Hopefully after the shoulder surgery I can be a little more aerodynamic (laughs) and 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 name someone 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 is definitely one of the main favourites. He has really shown a lot in recent years. Many chronometers fit it too. But first let’s start and get to Rome, and then we’ll see who’s the best.
In the decade in which you entered the sport, cycling has progressed and specialized even more, and more and more young people are taking up the 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 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. Before I was 22, I had never been on a bike, but today cyclists at that age get three-week races.
We are living in the golden age of Slovenian cycling. Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the successes, there is division among some fans. What is your relationship with Tadej Pogačar, who is not least your fellow citizen?(Laughs.) 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 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 yours to be made?Probably not under my fingers (laughs). But I believe that someday I will write something. My wife Lora likes to write. I believe 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 already 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 image below), in which they also talked about the following topics: − does he have time to listen to music or podcasts during training, − does he also use his bike for errands around town, − goals he wants , but it may be very difficult for him to achieve them, − the completion of the stage of the Race around Catalonia with the finish in Barcelona, − what is the name of his second son, − a possible return to the Race around Slovenia, − does he remember his first jump over 100 meters, − did he ever won 100th place.