Roglic: I'm here to win the Vuelta a Espana

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) has stated categorically that he will be going for the overall victory in the Vuelta a España.

Third overall in the Giro d'Italia in June and the winner of two stages, as well as fourth overall in the Tour de France the year before, Roglic has stated that his mission in Spain is to go for his first outright victory in a Grand Tour.

Roglic looked to be on track for the top spot in the Giro d'Italia this June, but then his hopes faded in the third week after he fell ill and was injured in crashes.

"I want to win and I'm going to try to win," Roglic told a small group of reporters at a press conference on Thursday evening, two days before the Vuelta start. "The podium is a nice place, but I've already done that at the Giro. I want to fight as hard as possible to win."

Having not raced since the Slovenian Nationals in late June in order to concentrate on getting back to his full health post-Giro, Roglic then opted to miss out on the Tour de France and go for the Vuelta. He says he is feeling good, saying, "I am ready to start the race," but was wary about the title of number one favourite that many observers have awarded him.

"Everyone starts from zero on Saturday and every day is a challenge and a fight," he pointed out cautiously. "I'm doing the Vuelta for the first time, but we have a really strong team and I'm looking forward to it."

Missing out on the Tour he said, "was and wasn't a disappointment. You have to be ready for the races you do and I wasn't ready. So it's easier to see our guys being there and doing well than being there myself and really suffering day by day."

Subsequently switching to the Vuelta was "not so hard to do. There are a lot of different races and always some new challenges, and this is one of them."

As for how the GC roles will be divvied up in Jumbo-Visma, given co-leader Steven Kruijswijk has also just clinched a Grand Tour podium finish with third place in the Tour de France, as well as taking fourth in the Vuelta a España last year, Roglic opted for a slightly cryptic generalization, saying "we have a strong team here, with George [Bennett] too, and the stronger the guys are, the better for all of us."

"We'll just try to stay up there on GC for as long as possible and see how it goes. For us we try to do what is the best for the team, so we have to try to win the race."

Although the Vuelta is well-known for its summit finishes, Roglic has won three time trials, two this year, in the Giro d'Italia and he said the Pau time trial in the Spanish Grand Tour was going to be of particular importance.

Regardless of the result this autumn in Spain, Roglic also said that with such a lengthy list of victories this spring in his palmares, in one sense the pressure was off.

"It's also a new thing for me, to finish the season with the Vuelta, how I will function in this race, also in the upcoming races afterwards. But it's nice to start."

He has not checked out any specific stages but will be "trying to go as well as possible throughout. When you've in good shape, it's not such a problem to ride in one place or another. We'll see how it goes."

For Jumbo-Visma, having won the first stage of the Giro and the Tour this year, rounding this off with a victory in the opening TTT on Saturday would be a notable hat-trick for a single team.

"It would be great," Roglic said with a smile. "Nobody would complain about that."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.