Primoz Roglic: From World Champion Ski Jumping to Champion Vuelta a Espana
Congratulation Primoz Roglic, champion of Vuelta a Espana 2019! A spectacular achievement. Because he is actually not a bicycle athlete. In fact, he just “tried” bicycle racing in 2012, after previously achieving world achievements in the ski jumping event !
Yes, Roglic is included as a “new kid” on the racecourse. Since childhood, he actually prefers acting around the snow. Growing up in Kisovec, a small mining town in the mountains of Slovenia, he was interested in ski jumping at the age of 13.
In 2007, at the age of 17, he became the junior world champion of ski jumping . For those who are not familiar, this is a pretty scary sport. An athlete stands at the top so high, then skates fast and “flies” as high as possible to land as far as possible. His personal record was achieved in 2011, jumping as far as 183 meters!
Feeling already stuck in the ski jumping arena, unable to achieve higher achievements, Roglic decided to move direction. It so happened that he had bought a bicycle a few years before, and had tried duathlon and triathlon . so he decided to try being a bicycle racer.
In 2012, at the age of 22, he started participating in amateur competitions in Slovenia. A year later, he entered the local UCI Continental team, Adria Mobil. This is the year of “learning.” There are no impressive achievements.
In 2014, he started making a scene. He won his first two professional wins. Namely a stage on the Tour d’Azerbaidjan and Croatia-Slovenia semi-classic race .
In 2015, he became even worse. He finished second in the Tour of Croatia, won the Tour d’Azerbaidjan, then won the Tour of Slovenia while beating Team Sky racers.
“Together with (the team) Adria, we always feel that Primoz has a special talent,” Bogdan Fink, Adria Mobil’s boss, was quoted as saying by Peloton magazine several years ago.
Apparently, this Roglic gait invited the interest of WorldTour ranks. Team LottoNL-Jumbo (now Jumbo-Visma) picked it up for 2016. Facing opponents in the highest class, Roglic was able to show off.
In fact, since his first year at WorldTour, Roglic showed ability as a racer who can do anything. Uphill whiz, time trial is also whiz. It was proven by winning a TT stage at the Giro d’Italia!
In 2017, Roglic started winning big competitions. He won overall Volta ao Algarve. Then came the spectacular result, won the stage win on the Tour de France, becoming the first Slovenian to do it in history.
2018 again shows progress. The most memorable finished fourth overall in the Tour de France, including returning to win one stage. This is the capital to be the captain of the 2019 grand tour event .
The first opportunity was the 2019 Giro d’Italia last May. On paper, he should be the champion. Because at the beginning of the year, he won so many competitions. These include the Tour de Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the UAE Tour.
Roglic started the Giro convincingly, winning the opening TT stage. But then he “lost the team.” Didn’t get enough support for various reasons (his colleague was sick, etc.). What can I do, he finished third. Up on the podium, but now it’s a disappointment.
Basis never gave up, Roglic increasingly ambitious in Vuelta a Espana 2019. His team decided to rest Roglic in the middle of the year, forcing him to miss the Tour de France. Then, Jumbo-Visma also made sure Roglic had strong supporters.
Then, it’s time. Vuelta a Espana begins.
And it was very worrying at first.
In the opening team time trial (TTT) stage , Jumbo-Visma was unfortunate. Slip water on one of the bends. The reason is ridiculous, there is a water hose that leaked from a house near the bend. Instead of winning, the team lost a lot of time. Roglic immediately minus 40 seconds behind the initial leader of the race, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
Another bad news follows.
Because of that slip, Jumbo-Visma had to lose Steven Kruijswijk. The Dutchman had just finished third in the Tour de France, and was supposed to be Roglic’s main companion at La Vuelta. At the same time be a backup captain if something happens to Roglic.
Minus one helper, Roglic still appear aggressive. In the first week, he was immediately able to gain a lot of lost time by joining in the breakaway ranks .
Then, on the individual TT stage, Roglic step on the gas. Win convincingly, far ahead of other leading general classification (GC). Practically he took an important step to achieve an overall degree there.
After that, he stayed as much as possible. Block the attacks and the onslaught of competitors in the mountain stages. Luckily, the remaining Jumbo-Visma line was able to escort him. Although ultimately often alone on the last climb, Roglic was able to stick to, even beat his competitors.
The peak was at Stage 20, last Saturday (September 14). Roglic remained calm until the end. And secure the overall title by finishing fifth.
At the closing parade stage in Madrid on Sunday (September 15, Monday morning WIB), Roglic only needs to finish safely on the platoon to ensure the title of Vuelta a Espana 2019.
He was the first Slovenian driver to win a grand tour . At the age of 29, it’s only been seven years since he decided to change course to become a bicycle racer!
As a bonus, Roglic also secured a green jersey as the points classification champion .
“I thank the family and all parties involved in achieving this great result,” he said very simply on the championship podium. “See you in the next competitions,” he added.
AFTER THIS WHAT?
It’s no secret, Jumbo-Visma is a new superteam at WorldTour. Have an army that is no less elite than Team Ineos (aka Team Sky), with a budget that may only be half.
The Dutch team also continues to accumulate assets, chasing even greater ambitions in the years ahead. One of the biggest acquisitions is Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 Giro d’Italia champion.
Of course this raises the question: If there is Dumoulin, and there is already Kruijswijk, what do you want to do with Primoz Roglic?
Apparently, this team does not want to waste long time. Vuelta a Espana 2019 is not over, the team has announced a contract extension for four years. Roglic will be on Jumbo-Visma until the end of 2023.
How to announce it is funny. The team released a video where they received calls from various personalities, from various sports. All try to recruit Roglic for 2020.
From football, there are several famous clubs. One who “calls” is Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona). Then there is the band offering him personnel. There was even a dart game team that offered him a contract.
The essence of the video: Roglic is an all-around athlete, so many sports fields want it. But sorry, Roglic is not going anywhere. The 177 cm tall racer will continue with Jumbo-Visma until 2023!
It will be very interesting to see what the Jumbo-Visma strategy looks like next year and beyond. What is the division of “portions” for Dumoulin, Roglic, and Kruijswijk.
The team still doesn’t want to talk specifically. “In the years ahead, we will continue to work to grow together and become better in all areas,” said Merijn Zeeman, sports director of Jumbo-Visma when announcing the new Roglic contract. (riding bicycle)