Growing up in Slovenia, Primož Roglič dreamed of being the world’s best ski jumper. The realisation at “20-21” that he wouldn’t be the best saw the now 26-year-old make the switch to cycling in 2013 with the Continental Adria Mobil team.
A 2007 junior world ski jump champion, Roglič explained to Cyclingnews his transition to cycling is “quite a long one”.
“I was dreaming that I would be the best in ski jumping but that dream wasn’t coming through so when I realised that I am not the best at 20-21, I wasn’t where I was dreaming to be so that’s why I changed and tried this,” Roglič said at the start of stage 2 in Unley.
“When I was still a ski jumper, we weren’t allowed to cycling too much because you need the quick muscles and cycling it’s all the same movements a lot of time and you lose your speed. At the end of my ski jumping career, I bought myself a bike and discovered that I am pretty good with it.”
Victory in the mountains classification at the 2015 Coppi e Bartoli was the start of a successful season as Roglič then went to win the Tour d'Azerbaïdjan, Tour de Slovénie ahead of Team Sky's Mikel Nieve, and a stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake. Roglic’s results and performances saw him ink a deal with Dutch WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo.
Roglič made his debut with LottoNL-Jumbo at the pre-Tour Down Under, Down Under Classic criterium in which he animated an early breakaway. He made his debut proper on Tuesday, finishing safely in the bunch in 86th place. Roglic’s teammate at Adria Mobil last season, Marko Kump, is also making his debut for a new team this week with Lampre-Merida at the race, finishing fourth on stage 1.
Having initially pelted down the ski jump ramp, Roglic’s strengths on the bike are going uphill, opposed to his countrymen’s abilities in a sprint finish. Stage 3 of the race, with the Corkscrew climb, and stage 5 with its Willunga Hill finish are both suited to his characteristics, however Roglič will be on team duty.
“I will definitely help the team, we will see as there are a lot of good guys but I will look to help the team,” he said. “I really like the new team, all the guys are great and I am looking forward to the whole season. The race, it’s hard, it’s hot but I think we can do pretty good.”
When asked what his dreams are in cycling, Roglič replied “I don’t know, we will see but already I am living my dreams because I just want to be out there and compete with the best guys in the world.”
While Roglič’s ski jump contemporaries, such as fellow 26-year-old Jurij Tepeš, may have recently recorded a ‘perfect jump’, LottoNL-Jumbo’s climber looks to have a promising career ahead of him on the road. With a start at the Giro d’Italia in support of Steven Kruijswijk, Roglič may well add his name to the recent list of Slovenian stage winners, following in the footsteps of Luka Mezgec and Jan Polanc.