Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard are convinced the combined strength of the Jumbo-Visma team means they can take on and defeat Tadej Pogačar at the 2022 Tour de France.
Jumbo-Visma was one of the first teams to face questions about their Tour de France ambitions after arriving in Copenhagen for the Grand Depart. The team's lead directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning during final testing but Roglič, Vingegaard and Wout van Aert all tested negative and appeared ready to take the race to Pogačar.
"If we do the best all together, we're a strong team and have a lot of qualities individually. As long as we work together, doing as good as possible, we believe we can beat him," Roglič said.
"It's a big difference having two [leaders] compared to one," the Dane, who is confirmed as Jumbo-Visma's co-leader on equal terms to Roglič, added.
"A lot can happen in the Tour de France, there's so much stress and crashes. So much can happen for us and everyone. We have to survive the first week and then we'll see, take a status and see.
"We really want to go with two leaders and we believe we can challenge Pogačar in the end."
There were hints of rivalry during the Criterium du Dauphine, when Vingeggard appeared stronger on the final mountain stage but Roglič was already race leader. However both played down any internal rivalry at the Tour de France, insisting they were friends on and off the bike.
"We make each other stronger. Jonas is super strong, we're strong individually and so the whole team is strong," Roglič insisted. "We're super good friends, too eh."
Vingegaard revealed that the pair often hung out together during their final altitude training camp in Tignes.
"Primož and I are good friends outside of bike racing, we spent two weeks together in Tignes and enjoy each other's company," the Danish rider said.
"Primož and I often sat down to have a beer on the balcony some times and our families and wives enjoyed time together."
Jumbo-Visma appears united as a team but do have multiple and very different goals. Roglič and Vingegaard will try to win the yellow jersey while Van Aert has been given the freedom to target stage victories and the green points jersey.
The Jumbo-Visma roster has been divided too, with Christophe Laporte, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot selected to help Van Aert. Steven Kruijswijk and Sepp Kuss will assist Roglič and Vingegaard in the mountains.
Roglič played down suggestions the team may be over stretched as it targets multiple and very major objectives.
"He's a guy who is 100% dedicated to the team, and we help each other" Roglič insisted of van Aert. "We know why we're here, we all have big goals."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.