Roglic says Jumbo-Visma need to 'think carefully' about balancing his and Van Aert's Tour de France ambitions
Slovenian insists yellow jersey is 'not an obsession' and would rather be remembered as 'a fighter'
Primož Roglič has warned that Jumbo-Visma need to ‘think carefully’ about how they balance his ambitions with those of Wout Van Aert at next year’s Tour de France.
Roglič has enjoyed sole leadership with luxury assistance from Van Aert in the past two years but suffered disappointment on both occasions, losing the yellow jersey on the penultimate day in 2020 before crashes derailed his ambitions this year.
Following Roglič’s early exit in July, Van Aert went on to win three stages – a mountain stage, a time trial, and a bunch sprint – marking him out as a prime candidate for the green jersey of the points classification.
Until now, Van Aert’s primary task has been to support Roglič, with stage wins coming when opportunities have sprung up, but he might be let off the leash in 2022, and has himself confirmed his ambition to make a concerted push for green.
That would leave Jumbo-Visma with a headache over how they spread their resources across two leaders – something Roglič has addressed in an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws (opens in new tab).
"A good question. In theory, anything is possible. We can get green and yellow - and also the polka dot jersey with Sepp Kuss - but the team has to determine what our main goal is, and then we have to have a plan that works for the two of us," Roglič said.
"It must be the intention that Wout and I help each other. We have to find a way so he can go for a stage win and I can try to get some time at the same time. We have to think about that carefully."
Roglič went on to insist that his pursuit of Tour de France glory is not an ‘obsession’, stating that it is more important for him to be remembered as a ‘fighter’ than be judged on his palmarès.
The Slovenian won a mountain stage on his Tour de France debut in 2017 and finished fourth overall at the 2018 edition in what was his breakthrough as a Grand Tour contender. He returned in 2020 after winning the Vuelta a España but suffered a crushing penultimate-day defeat at the hands of Tadej Pogačar, while his bid this year was derailed by an early crash.
On both occasions, Roglič has demonstrated that fighting spirit by bouncing back to win the Vuelta a España, with this season also featuring an Olympic time trial title in between the two.
"I’d love to win the Tour, sure, but I don't need to be remembered as the rider who won or didn't win the Tour," Roglič told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"I’d rather people think of me as the man who fought for it every time, the man who gave the best of himself every race. That's who I want to be. A fighter. The Tour is really not an obsession. So it's not a frustration that it hasn't worked yet."
Asked whether he remained confident he can win the yellow jersey, he stated: "Yeah, I believe in that."
Roglič was apparently less willing to talk about Pogačar - specifically how he might be able to turn the tables on his compatriot. The UAE Team Emirates rider, who snatched the Tour from Roglič in 2020 and then dominated it this year, recently insisted that he does have weaknesses, suggesting he can "crack really easily, actually".
Roglič, however, would not be drawn on tactical plans.
"That's talk for the media," he said. "What do you think? Should I hit him a hundred times or get it right once? It's about how strong you are."
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