Date: 1. November 2019
Time to read: 3 min
I myself am not a passionate sports fan. But some sports people simply move you. They inspire admiration. For a moment you stop, drop all thoughts and simply observe. In the moment when an athlete gives everything of themselves, you see the warrior that resides in the person. You see power, you see determination. And at the end of the battle, the face reflects satisfaction.
Primož Roglič tells his story by being who he is. He tells his story of courage, perseverance and great love of sport. As a lively child he started out kicking a football. After that, his enthusiasm shifted to ski jumping. Evidence of his determination can be seen in the successes he notched up as a jumper. In 2006, together with his teammates he jumped to a silver medal in the youth world championship. Along with the other lads he reached one step higher on the podium the very next year, becoming a youth world champion in Italy. He can also boast two victories in the Continental Cup. The first was won at Planica and the second at Westby. In March 2007, even after a horrific fall on the Planica Giant, he lost neither his will nor his courage. He continued training, but since he achieved none of the results he was targeting he switched his jumping skis for a bicycle.
In 2012 he ended his career as a ski jumper and took up cycling
He fell in love with cycling when he started doing duathlons, which are a combination of running and cycling. First comes a running leg, followed by cycling and then another running leg. Primož ran well but was not happy with his cycling.
As a true fighter, cycling then became a challenge for him. With several thousand kilometres behind him, he started showing some interest in professional cycling.
He began making enquiries among Slovenian cycling clubs as to how he might join them. His only response was from the Radenska Cycling Club, where he received his first training programme. Soon he was offered a chance with the Adria Mobil cycling team, and from 2013 to 2015 he rode as an Adria Mobil team member. Since 2016 he has been a member of the Dutch Team Jumbo-Visma, for which he still rides today.
Primož has admitted that at the beginning it was very tough, and he keeps reiterating that with every race he learns something new. Cycling is a very specific sport. At first glance it might appear to be an individual sport, but that is not the case. The winner’s victory in the majority of cases is made possible by his team. From the first kilometre the team is playing out tactics, and leaving nothing to chance. The roles of individuals in the team are clearly defined, with one common goal – team victory. The teammates act as assistants trying to keep the team leader as rested as possible up to the moment when he can show all his ability and get a good result for the team. This means that during the race they need to ensure that the team leader has enough food and drink. The assistants thus frequently return to the back-up vehicles and bring energy bars and drinks. In the event of a fall or technical problem, the assistants also help the team leader get back into the peloton. Sometimes you will see one of the assistants lending their bike to the team leader. They all work for the good of the team.
The cyclists have assigned roles in the team according to the abilities they have. Some of them are outstanding sprinters, while others are good on climbs. Sprinters are extremely explosive and fast, so they are great for the sprint finish to a race. But they have slightly greater body mass, so are not so good on inclines.
Others, meanwhile, are outstanding in time trials. This, of course, includes Primož.
It is especially interesting to watch a bicycle race where a small group, or more rarely an individual, decides on a breakaway. Usually breakaways do not just happen by chance. Teams have their tactics on how to snatch victory. You have to attack at just the right moment, in the right place. Right when it starts, the breakaway is powerful enough to generate a major advantage in a short time. Riders make a breakaway for two reasons: they want to ease the work of their teammates, or this is the only way they can secure a good result, since not all teams have equally good sprinters. Breakaways are common, but they rarely succeed. In any event, they make the race more exciting.
As you can see, cycling is a team sport, so the mood in the team is important. Cooperation among the teammates is vital. Primož, as his colleagues describe him, is fun, relaxed and knows what he’s doing on a bicycle. His colleagues love him. They are a very closely knit team, which you can tell by the team performances.
To date Primož has notched up more than 30 wins. Each year he adds several new ones to the list. These are stage and overall victories in the biggest, hardest and most famous races. The Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Tour de Romandie, Tirreno – Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country… his success is huge.
This year he secured his first overall win at one of the three biggest races in the world, the three-week Spanish Vuelta, in which he also won a stage. He also had his first wins in one-day classic races, the Giro dell'Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine.
We should also mention the Tour of Slovenia, which Primož first won in 2015. The 22nd Tour of Slovenia produced once again a Slovenian champion, who experienced his win very emotionally.
Sports fans were amazed at his incredible transformation from a ski jumper to a top professional cyclist. He repeated his victory in the Tour of Slovenia in 2018.
Despite the stiff competition, before the Tour of Slovenia he stated his clear goal – victory. Just like his own ambitions, those of the entire Slovenian public were high. Richer for the experiences he had accumulated from race to race, he also fulfilled his expectations. In all the races where the competition is fiercest, Primož Roglič can measure up to the best. He has secured for himself a winning mindset. Now he knows that an individual from a small country can also win the biggest race. The biggest victory is knowing that you can do it. Bravo Primož!