BOLOGNA, Italy (VN) — Times have changed for Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) heading into the Giro d’Italia. Three years ago, he won the Chianti time trial and now, after progressing, he is a favorite.

The Slovenian won all three races he entered in 2019 – the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and last week, the Tour de Romandie.

“This is different from 2016 when I first started the Giro, but for me it’s OK and I do not find it so difficult because in the end, these are difficult days with pressure for everybody who wants to be the best,” Roglic said.

“Of course when you start riding and you start thinking at the biggest thing that you can do, like wearing the pink or yellow jersey, but in the end it’s quite different when you get here.

“In 2016, I saw all the obstacles and troubles to face. I thought about all that and all the things that could happen, we’ve all worked very hard now to get to this point and we’re really proud to be in this place we are at this moment.”

Roglic won the Galibier stage in the 2017 Tour de France and in 2018, another stage and placed fourth overall. That set him up for a chance to lead the Dutch Jumbo-Visma team in the Giro d’Italia.

He has dominated the early season, leaving rivals shaking their heads at his strength. In Tirreno-Adriatico, Adam Yates tried to distance him, but could not. And with the final time trial, Roglic always had the upper hand.

The route seems perfect for the 29-year-old because he can both time trial and deliver multiple accelerations in the steep mountain stages. The race starts and ends with a time trial and includes one in the middle to San Marino.

“It’s a good Giro start and it will be a good challenge with the first six K flat and the very hard climb to finish it,” said Roglic.

“For sure, I have already said and spoken in the other races that we have a strong team and we know that we are going to have to make the race because the other teams will look to us. We saw this in the last races.”

The top rivals include 2017 winner Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), winner of last year’s Vuelta a España.

“The winner will be decided at the end of the race on the last day in Verona, in the individual time trial. Of course many important things will happen already starting from day one and then just every day is important for the overall win. You’ll have to stay focused,” he continued.

“I would say that is not to me to judge everyone because we are all starting from zero, it will be a very big fight, especially for Nibali who won twice before. It’s a hard Giro starting from day one, and for sure, he’s the best guy with the experience.”