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Primoz Roglic: It's been a long season but Il Lombardia is still important for me

MILAN ITALY OCTOBER 06 LR Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo Visma and Adam Yates of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers compete in the breakaway during the 102nd MilanoTorino 2021 a 190km race from Magenta to Torino Superga 669m MilanoTorino on October 06 2021 in Milan Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) battles with Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) at Milano-Torino (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Primož Roglič heads up a strong Jumbo-Visma squad for Saturday's Il Lombardia, where the Slovenian will look to take the second Monument victory of his career following the 2020 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Roglič, who finished seventh at the race in his last participation two years ago, will be joined by Tour de France runner-up Jonas Vingegaard, George Bennett, and Steven Kruijswijk in Como. Koen Bouwman, Lennard Hofstede, and Sam Oomen complete the Dutch team's seven-man selection for the final WorldTour race of 2021.

"I am enjoying myself in Italy," Roglič said in a statement issued by his team. "It has been a long season for all of us, but it remains nice – also for the team – to be at the start.

"The races are tough, so I try to rest as much as possible after a race. Il Lombardia is one of the biggest races of the year, so it is important for me. I’ll try to win it."

Roglič has racked up 13 wins in 2021, including Itzulia Basque Country, the Vuelta a España, and Olympic time trial gold. He's in top form heading into Il Lombardia, having won the Giro dell'Emilia and Milano-Torino in the past week.

He told Het Nieuwsblad that, at this point in the year, he relies on racing to keep his level up. With the major goals of his season already completed, he said that he doesn't train much in October.

"At this point in the season, it works. The year is almost over. In a week like this, I live from race to race. I don't have to train a lot.

"The problem with one-day races is that they are all so specific. You have to ride them a few times to know what it takes to win. Sometimes that still plays tricks on me. I still haven't ridden twenty Monuments."

The 31-year-old will face a top-quality field on Saturday, with world champion Julian Alaphiliippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) also among the headliners for the 239-kilometre race.

Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), and past champions Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Esteban Chaves (Team BikeExchange), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), and the Trek-Segafredo pair of Vincenzo Nibali and Bauke Mollema will also be racing.

"Everyone starts at zero next Saturday," Roglič said. "We have seen that there can already be attacks long before the finish. I expect it won’t be different next Saturday.

"You have to be in the front at the right moments and have some luck to get excellent results. We have a strong team at the start, so with confidence, I look forward to Il Lombardia."

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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.