The Slovenia Times

Roglič ready for La Vuelta


Ljubljana - Primož Roglič, Slovenia's star member of Team Jumbo-Visma, will be chasing his fourth consecutive victory at the Vuelta a Espana, a three-week Grand Tour race that starts this weekend, after he failed to complete the 2022 Tour de France due to an injury sustained in a crash during the race.

The injury raised the question of his fitness, but he told the press on Thursday that "I'm here, and if I'm here, I'm ready. We'll see what that means in the coming days."

Roglič nevertheless admitted as he talked with the press via video call that although the injury had been taken care of, "I sometimes still feel not everything is OK."

Unwilling to predict any results or the outcome, Roglič said all will soon be seen on the ground as the 21-stage race starts in the Netherlands on Friday.

The Tour of Spain race will be special for Roglič, as he could become the first rider with four consecutive La Vuelta wins, while Spaniard Roberto Heras holds the record of four wins at this race. "It's definitely special to be given the opportunity to do this and of course I'll fight for this record," Roglič said.

He is looking forward to the 23.3km team time trial that will open La Vuelta in Utrecht today, although his team has not yet studied the tactics or the route.

"The later stages will be more challenging and decisive, but a good start to the race is also very important."

Roglič expects a weekend of tremendous support from the Dutch fans of Team Jumbo-Visma, whose Jonas Vingegaard won this year's Tour de France.

"The fans are also the reason why we will do more than our best on these stages. I hope we can push a bit harder than our rivals already in the time trial."

Although he admits that his rivals are strong, Roglič is not too much preoccupied with them for now, focusing on himself and his teammates.

Experts see Belgian Remco Evenepoel as his main challenger, with the Slovenian saying that "he is of course super strong, which he proved many times before. Not only him, there are also many other strong names."

The other Slovenian star rider, Tadej Pogačar, two-time Tour de France winner, will skip La Vuelta as he focuses on the coming World Championships and one-day races. He finished the French race second, and his team UAE Emirates said at the end of July that he had opted out of the Spanish race.

This is the fourth time that La Vuelta starts outside Spain and the second time in the Netherlands. It will cover just over 3,280 kilometres until it finishes in Madrid on 11 September.


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