Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) got his season off to the best possible start after wrapping up overall victory at the UAE Tour on Saturday. The Slovenian finished safely in the bunch to round out what has been a dominant week of racing.
He took control of the race early on with Jumbo-Visma's team time trial victory on day one and extended his lead on each of the three uphill finishes. Roglic is set to be an outright leader at a Grand Tour for the first time at the Giro d'Italia in May after an impressive showing at last year's Tour de France, where he finished 4th.
After a breakthrough 12 months, it can be easy to forget how recently Roglic took up the sport, after initially starting his sporting career as a ski jumper.
"I just started in 2012, riding the bikes. Sometimes it seems that goes really quickly and easy but, for sure, it didn’t feel like that for me because it was a really hard start and now I'm really grateful to be in the position that I'm in," Roglic said.
"There were a lot of big names here on this race, for sure, and we showed already from day one with the team time trial how strong a team we have here and were doing their job every day and for me, it was a pleasure. I was happy that I could finish it off every day until the end.
The seven-day UAE Tour was Roglic's first time racing in the country and, given that it was also his first race of the season, he wasn't sure what to expect. Some had told him to anticipate a fairly easy week but plenty of wind and two particularly hard summit finishes made it anything but for him.
"I heard from some guys before coming to this race that it was a really easy race and quite boring," explained Roglic. "But I think it was quite far from that this year, starting with the team time trial, which was full gas, two summit finishes and Hatta Dam was the same. Every day there was wind and sand in the desert. There was a lot of racing and we're all really happy to go home and take some rest."
Roglic will only have a short break before racing at Tirreno-Adriatico in 12 days.