FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Slovenian ex-ski jumper Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) is on target for the Tour de France. This weekend, he dethroned Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First-Drapac), second in the 2017 Tour, to win the Tour of Slovenia.
Roglic won the mountain stage, and on Sunday he cemented his overall victory by winning the time trial. Riding in the Tour de France is next.
“Perhaps he can be one of those surprise riders we see in the Tour de France,” Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzué said Monday.
“He’s a younger rider, he’s getting more experience. He’s had a great season so far. He’s been climbing with the best, and is obviously very good in the time trial.
“Perhaps we will all have to have him on our radar.”
Unzué commands the powerful Movistar team with leaders Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, and Alejandro Valverde. His primary concern is four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, but the fact that Roglic is on his list says something about the 28-year-old Slovenian.
Roglic won his home race back in 2015. He has since blossomed into one of the most dangerous riders in the peloton with his accelerations and smooth time trials.
He scored a victory in the Giro d’Italia’s Chianti time trial in 2016. At the 2017 Tour, he flew over the Galibier to win stage 17 in Serre-Chevalier.
This year, Roglic notched overall wins in the Itzulia Basque and the Tour de Romandie.
The Dutch LottoNL-Jumbo team said Roglic will go for stage wins in the Tour. At the most, he will ride the first week to see how he goes along with his team’s general classification rider Steven Kruijswijk. “I’ll look for stage wins,” Roglic said.
But alarm bells ring though Europe. Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana have won the Basque tour, while Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, and Cadel Evans have won in Romandie. Those are some of the top Tour de France riders in recent memory.
The Tour of Slovenia featured a thin list of top stars, but Roglic handled Rigoberto Urán to claim the trophy. Urán rode to second overall in the Tour de France in 2017. When the Tour of Slovenia came to a stop in Novo Mesto, Roglic had a lead of 1:50 on his Colombian rival, who finished second.
“For me, the Tour of Slovenia has been an ideal race in the build-up to the Tour de France,” Roglic explained.
“The Tour begins in three weeks and this race was perfect to get the intensity back in the legs. The upcoming weeks will mainly consist of training and resting and hopefully I’m ready for the Tour. But for now, I’ll enjoy my victory.”