BREST, France (Reuters) – Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic said he has worked hard on the time trial bike in preparation for the Tour de France after last year losing the race on the penultimate day’s TT stage.
The Jumbo-Visma rider looked poised to win the Tour last year as he went into the decisive stage with a 57-second lead, only to have compatriot Tadej Pogacar seize the yellow jersey.
The sight of Roglic cracking on the final climb of the 36.2km time trial was the abiding memory of a thrilling finale, and with two time trials in this year’s race he is determined that history will not repeat itself.
Stage five is the opening time trial, a 27.2km route, before another slightly longer one on the penultimate day.
“We’ve checked out both time trials and how decisive they’ll be, we’ll see at the end of the Tour. We saw last year they could be really crucial and big differences can happen,” Roglic said at a news conference on Thursday.
“With this in mind, we tried to train with the TT bike and we put a lot of work in. We’ll see how we’ll manage it.
“When you’re training alone, you don’t see how strong the others are, but we’ll see.”
Roglic will be among the favourites to win the Tour but has not raced since Liege-Bastogne-Liege back in April. He admits it has been a different approach to last year.
“Normally I come from altitude and I’m ready. Looking back to last year, there was also quite a big break with all the coronavirus things going on,” he said.
“I’m confident and we just have to see how it will go.”
The Jumbo-Visma team were dominant last year in the Tour build-up but less so this time, with Ineos Grenadiers looking back to their best after winning the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de Suisse. But Roglic remains convinced his team will give him every chance to win the general classification.
“We’re also here with a super strong team so we’re also ready,” he said. “We have strong guys and I am also confident in them. I want to show my best way, with my whole team. We’ll try and do our best and see how it goes.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)