Victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in April, in which he at times single-handedly held off the challenge from Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa, were followed up by triumphs at the Tour de Romandie and his home Tour of Slovenia.
LottoNL-Jumbo come into the Tour with a highly versatile, yet somewhat underrated, team but Roglic could prove pivotal. All year Roglic has stressed that a Grand Tour challenge is still an unknown quantity, and that further experience is needed, but after his Tour debut in 2017 – in which he won a stage - the 28-year-old’s career trajectory suggests that it cannot be far away.
“It’s always nice to be here and especially to start the Tour de France. We’re ready and we’re all looking forward to it,” he told Cyclingnews on Thursday.
LottoNL arrive with Dylan Groenewegen leading the line in the sprints and Steven Kruijswijk set to take on the best GC riders in the world. Roglic will be integral in the TTT on stage 3 but could also play a part on some of the hilly stages that pepper the opening week.
“It’s true, we have a team with a lot of options. My main thing, and we know that the beginning of the season went really well for me, is to just stay focussed. I still need to learn a lot about these three-week races. And then I can make a decision about whether I can come back and go for GC in the next few years and make that my focus.”
While Groenewegen and Kruijswijk will be protected riders in the opening nine days as the race traverses through the Vendee and then Brittany before the Roubaix stage, Roglic will do his upmost to remain out of trouble. That could see him remain in contention for the overall at least until the first rest-day.
“You never want to be on the floor or in trouble, so that’s normal. You want to for sure limit the losses as much as possible and then see where you are,” he said.
A repeat of stage 17 from last year’s Tour to Serre-Chevalier, in which Roglic defeated Alberto Contador and held off several GC riders would certainly not go amiss.
“There are a lot of nice stages, but of course every stage is nice if you win it. So, you never complain if you win but as long as I’m healthy in the next few weeks I’ll be able to do a good job.”
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