Tour of Spain 2022 – Is Primoz Roglic still this triple title holder on the Vuelta?

Tour of Spain 2022 – Is Primoz Roglic still this triple title holder on the Vuelta?
Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes? As true as we all thought, or almost probably, that Primoz Roglic was going to win the 2020 Tour de France, an immense majority now considers its past luck in the biggest race in the world. We will not go so far as to think that Primoz Roglic is no longer good for anything, that would be disrespecting a champion and forgetting his immense qualities. The Vuelta will allow him to give, or not, a brilliant answer to this question: is he still this triple winner of the event?

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In Madrid, in three weeks and dust, history will await Primoz Roglic. A fourth success, in a row moreover, would allow him to write some fine lines in the great book of cycling. This fourth success would send him to the pantheon of the Vuelta alongside Roberto Heras, himself four times winner of the last grand tour of the season. Big difference, the Spaniard never made the four in a row.

Of course the record gives me more motivation, it’s special. We will fight for it“, launched Roglic this Thursday on the eve of the departure. In France as in Italy or Spain, only Anquetil (1961-1964), Merckx (1969-1972) and Indurain (1991-1995) can boast of four successes in a row , all on the Tour.

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This would therefore classify Roglic in a sacred caste, although the Tour of Spain was and still is the least prestigious grand tour. Still, it suits him perfectly and if it’s not Richard Carapaz in 2020, no one has, if only to tickle the last three years. Better, on the other side of the Pyrenees, bad luck seems to have left him alone. The opportunity to remember that when Primoz Roglic goes after a great lap, he is never far from victory and even systematically in the Top 5 since 2018 with five podiums at stake.

Why this distrust of Roglic?

But before thinking about the big story, Roglic must focus on his own. His career has taken a funny turn for thirteen months and this fall in Brittany, in a nervous start to the 2021 Tour which propelled Jonas Vingegaard into the light before the Dane embraced him by triumphing over Tadej Pogacar a few weeks ago . A funny twist, but no feelings. History will not forget that he was a decisive element in the takeover of his young teammate in the now famous Granon stage. No one doubted the greatness of soul of the runner Roglic, this episode was further proof of it.

Primoz Roglic participated in the collapse of Tadej Pogacar on the Tour de France

Credit: Getty Images

So why this mistrust? Why when Primoz Roglic triumphed in Dauphiné last June, it was Jonas Vingegaard’s performance that was highlighted? Perhaps because the Dane had not dared to “kill” the father and Roglic’s fall in the North of France on the Tour did him a great service. Perhaps also because the very great years of Roglic seem to be behind him. Perhaps finally because the Slovenian has always been looked at a little askance and the competition promises to be incredibly dense between the Netherlands and Spain.

Hindley, Carapaz, Evenepoel… Roglic facing fierce competition

So favorite Primoz Roglic? Everything will depend on his physical condition, he who fell again on the last Tour de France. “My body is definitely better than after the Tourhe reassures. I recovered even if sometimes I still feel things. We will see in the next days, next weeks where I am.”

From the Grande Boucle, the leader of the Jumbo-Visma had his eye on the Vuelta, a discussion in the middle of the race with Alberto Contador, consultant for the Eurosport motorcycle, had made it possible to learn it. Not romantic for a penny, even if far from the robot that is sometimes depicted, Roglic is above all a pragmatist. We can imagine him extremely well prepared for what was necessarily a goal in this 2022 season.

Primoz Roglic | Vuelta a España 2021

Credit: Getty Images

And according to his manager at Jumbo, Merijn Zeeman, there is no better than him in the sports world for “deal with disappointments“.”You have to accept things as they arephilosophizes the runner on his side. The most important thing is to focus on the future, not the past. We are here, tomorrow we start a new race. We all start from scratch tomorrow (Friday), all guys have the same chance at the start.”

Ready, you’ll have to be for this “new race“. When the winner of the Giro Jai Hindley will try to unbolt him, when Richard Carapaz, also triumphant in the Giro d’Italia, but also on the podium of the Tour and the Vuelta, will launch the attack, or even face Remco Evenepoel, Simon Yates, Enric Mas, João Almeida, Mikel Landa or Ben O’Connor. Above all, you must never give in to panic. In short, to be this Roglic full of confidence who is not afraid of anything and almost no one. Is it still? Anything other than a success in Madrid would definitely mark a shift in his career.

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