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Primoz Roglic: The Tour de France is not just a fight between Tadej Pogacar and me

TOPSHOT Team Jumbo rider Slovenias Primoz Roglic rides in a breakaway during the 4th stage of the 79th Paris Nice cycling race 1875 km between ChalonsurSaone and Chiroubles on March 10 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) has downplayed his status as a favourite for the Tour de France and insisted that this year's race will not amount simply to a duel with his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).

Roglič will have gone two months without racing by the time he lines up for the Grand Départ in Brest on Saturday June 26. He has eschewed competition since placing 13th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in late April and has instead trained at altitude at Sierra Nevada and most recently Tignes.

Pogačar warmed up for the Tour by winning the Tour of Slovenia last weekend, while Ineos claimed victory at both the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse through Richie Porte and Richard Carapaz, respectively.

“I wouldn’t even place myself, I don’t consider myself as so big a favourite,” Roglič told RMC Sport modestly. 

“I’m not the defending champion. At the end, I didn’t race for a while. I will just go there and in the end we have to see how it goes.”

Roglič wore the yellow jersey for eleven days on last year’s Tour and looked set for overall victory only to be overtaken in dramatic fashion by Pogačar in the time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles on the final weekend.

After the disappointment of finishing second overall in Paris, Roglič responded with victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Vuelta a España last autumn. He also beat Pogačar to win Itzulia Basque Country in April, but he dismissed the idea that this year’s Tour would amount to a direct confrontation between the two Slovenians.

“Last year, looking at what we had at the end, we all thought that we could finish it off and win it. On the other hand, second place is still a super nice result, and I always just repeat – it’s again a new year,” said Roglič.

“There are lots of guys who are super strong that are capable of winning. It’s not just a fight between me and Tadej. You have twenty other guys and I think all the race is just bigger than we are, so we definitely just need to go there, do our best with our guys. And in the end, we’ll see what that means with the result.”

At the Tour, Roglič will be accompanied in the Jumbo-Visma team by Steven Kruijswijk, Wout van Aert, Robert Gesink, Tony Martin, Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard and Mike Teunissen.