Primoz Roglic kicks off 2021 campaign at Paris-Nice

SAINTCYRLECOLE FRANCE MARCH 07 Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo Visma during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 1 a 166km stage from SaintCyrlEcole to SaintCyrlEcole ParisNice on March 07 2021 in SaintCyrlEcole France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Primož Roglič of Jumbo-Visma began his 2021 season at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Paris-Nice may be Primož Roglič's first race of the 2021 season, but everyone has the Jumbo-Visma leader tagged as the favourite for victory in the 79th edition of the Race to the Sun.

“It’s the start of the season for me, my first race this year, and it’s also the first time that I’ve done Paris-Nice,” Roglič said just before lining up at the start of the opening stage in Saint-Cyr-L’École under what were atypically bright and clear skies for the opening days of the French stage race. 

“I’m excited to get started. Let’s hope the weather stays like this. I think it’s much nicer when it is.”

The Jumbo leader arrived at Paris-Nice following a three-week training camp in Tenerife with Steven Kruiswijk, Sam Oomen and George Bennett, who are all part of the Dutch team’s line-up on the eight-day race. 

“I feel good and ready to race. Everything went to plan but the race will tell us if we have missed some things in our preparation,” he said of his training stint on the Spanish island.

“People always expect you to compete for the win, but it is my first race of the season. I will of course do my best but I just need to get back into my rhythm,” said Roglič, who finished the stage safely in the bunch on the same time as winner Sam Bennett.

Although the two-time Vuelta a España champion hasn’t appeared at Paris-Nice before, he was in no doubt about the test it will present over the coming week.

“Paris-Nice has quite a reputation. To be able to win it you’ve got to be a rider who can do anything. It’s windy, there are flat stages with echelons, there are steep climbs, long climbs, time trials. It’s a super hard race and only the best guys win it in the end,” he said.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).