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Primoz Roglic to start 2021 season at Paris-Nice

Primož Roglič wins stage 1 of the 2020 Vuelta a España
Primož Roglič wins stage 1 of the 2020 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Primož Roglič will begin his 2021 season at Paris-Nice, which is scheduled to take place from March 7-14. The Jumbo-Visma rider made the announcement after being feted as Slovenia’s sportsperson of the year on Wednesday evening, when he suggested that the Tour de France and Tokyo Olympics would be among his major objectives in the new season.

“Nothing has been decided yet, but I can already say that I will start the season with Paris-Nice and then I’ll follow last year's programme all the way to the Tour,” Roglič said, according to Slovenian website siol.net. “I will be able to reveal the details after we finalise them with the team management and staff.”

It will be the first time that Roglič has participated in Paris-Nice. He had been due to start his 2020 season at the event but his Jumbo-Visma squad withdrew before the start due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Roglič eventually started his season at the Slovenian Championships in June and he raced the Tour de l’Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné before placing second overall at the Tour de France. He recovered from the disappointment of losing the maillot jaune at the last to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège and claim his second successive Vuelta a España.

In 2021, Roglič will hope to combine the Tour with the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The men’s road race takes place on July 24, just six days after the end of the Tour, with the individual time trial following on July 28.

“The Olympics don't count as much in cycling as in other sports, but they are important to me as I come from winter sports, and I definitely want to be in the best possible shape there,” Roglič said.

“But I know it will be extremely difficult, given the fact that I intend to ride the Tour and there isn’t much time between the two races. Both must go optimally, but I believe that even after the Tour you can compete at the Olympics.”

Roglič was voted Slovenia’s sportsperson of the year for the second time this week, while on Monday, it was announced that he would share the prize for Slovenian cyclist of the year with Tadej Pogačar, who beat him to the Tour in such dramatic circumstances.

Pogačar told L’Équipe this week that he felt “conflicting emotions” at denying Roglič the Tour. He suggested that many in Slovenia had hoped the Jumbo-Visma man would fend off the challenge of his young rival, but he paid tribute to Roglič’s magnanimity at La Planche des Belles Filles in the moments immediately after he had lost the yellow jersey.

“I never thought about it, but I reacted quite naturally,” Roglič said of interrupting Pogačar’s flash television interview to offer a hug of congratulations.

“I didn't plan for it, especially not all of those emotions. Everything happened very spontaneously, and I really like that people who don’t follow cycling at all noticed it too, drew positive conclusions from it.”