Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) triumphed at the Tour de Romandie on Sunday afternoon, sealing his third stage race victory from three so far in 2019. The Slovenian's dominant performance in Switzerland has only cemented his position as a top favourite for the Giro d’Italia, which starts next weekend.
Roglič won three of six stages in Romandie, also finishing second in the prologue and third on another stage. The comprehensive victory, which saw him beat Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) by 49 seconds and 1:12, respectively, is surely the perfect lead-in to the Italian race, which Roglič returns to after two years spent targeting the Tour de France.
"I'm very happy with my third stage victory and my overall victory," said Roglič in a post-race team statement. "This victory Is a team achievement; the entire team was fantastic this week.
"It shows how much we have grown as a team, and that's really nice to see. I enjoyed it."
The victory continues a stunning run of form that has seen the 29-year-old begin his season with wins at the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico before this week's win. Riders such as Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) have both been in great stage-racing form to start the year, but it's hard to argue that anybody has been better than Roglič.
It is, however, tough to gauge where many of the Giro contenders are in relation to each other at this moment in time, with only Katusha-Alpecin's Ilnur Zakarin at Romandie – finishing eighth – while many other big names haven't raced since the Ardennes Classics or earlier.
As for Roglič, the race was his first since March. The 29-year-old spent mid-April at a team training camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern Spain.
"I hadn't raced since Tirreno-Adriatico, and I trained at altitude in April," said Roglič. "These results have been a bit unexpected, so I'm very satisfied. This was perfect preparation for the Giro."
At the Giro, Roglič will be able to rely on a strong team, which includes Antwan Tolhoek, Laurens De Plus and Paul Martens. The loss of Robert Gesink due to a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a blow to the Dutch squad, although American climber Sepp Kuss has been called up to replace him.
Roglič therefore has every chance to succeed, and on current form looks a smart bet to be in yet another leader's jersey after the Giro's opening time trial in Bologna on Saturday.
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