Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) said that he still has work to do ahead of the Giro d’Italia in just over two months time, despite looking on superb form and winning the penultimate stage and all-but sealing up the UAE Tour overall classification.
Roglic will go into the Giro d’Italia as the sole leader of the Jumbo-Visma team for the first time in his career and will take four of the six teammates he has with him at the UAE this week.
“In a Grand Tour, hopefully, we will show the same things. It’s still 70 days until the start of the Giro, so I still have some work to do,” Roglic said in his post-stage press conference at the top of Jebel Jais.
“I think five guys that are here will go also with me to the Giro. We have mostly the team that will do races with me till the Giro will also go to the Giro. Normally, I think with me will go, of course, Laurens [De Plus] then Koen Bouwman, Jos van Emden, Paul [Maertens] and me.”
De Plus, who joined from QuickStep over the winter, was particularly prominent for Roglic in the final kilometres of the climbs. The 23-year-old has had a difficult couple of seasons after a heavy crash in the 2017 Il Lombardia and then being hit by a truck while training in South Africa just a few months later. Roglic praised De Plus’ efforts but was also keen to credit the entire team with their work throughout the race.
“As we saw, he did a really, really great job, especially at the end. He was there until the last 500m in the front,” said Roglic. “But I wouldn’t just put him totally on the first place. We have a whole team racing, starting from kilometre zero. I need to be protected from kilometre zero to the finish. As you saw, all the guys worked really hard. They are all good so, of course, at the end, it comes normally on Laurens and me. We finished it up perfectly today.”
Always in control
Roglic has been in control of the overall classification right from the start of the UAE Tour after Jumbo-Visma won the team time trial on stage 1. He has extended his lead on each of the hilltop finishes and has never really looked in trouble.
In contrast, while Roglic has been strong, some of his Giro d’Italia rivals have been pretty quiet. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) had a bad day on the opening mountain stage, while Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) has kept a very low profile and struggled on the mountain finishes.
While there is still plenty of time until the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 11, Roglic is not concerned that he has peaked too early in the season.
“Normally I’m all year good, so I’m really not worried about it,” he said.
“You never know how you will start your first race, but it’s always nice to win it. If you can start like that it’s even bigger motivation with all the guys and show everyone that we can do a hard job to try and improve.
“We were all motivated to start the season," Roglic said. "We did some good training before with all the guys. For some of us this was still the first race, but nevertheless we were all motivated. We knew that we are strong, we showed already on the first day and it’s just quite a pleasure to ride every day with a team like this.”