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BREDA, Netherlands (VN) – “The perfect situation,” Jumbo-Visma sport director Grischa Niermann says.
Three Vuelta a España stages down, one TTT victory and three different Jumbo-Visma leaders. Primož Roglič has an advantage over his rivals and has stayed out of trouble. It’s been a delightful Dutch beginning for them.
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Italian domestique Edoardo Affini is their latest rider to wear the red jersey of race leader after Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen.
The squad has had the luxury of deciding who would don it after winning the race-opening TTT, finishing 13 seconds in front of closest challengers Ineos Grenadiers. The result also put defending champion Roglič in pole position.
“It’s good to start like this,” Roglič told journalists at the start of stage 3 in Breda.
However, there have been stressful moments on the road furniture-filled and narrow roads of the Netherlands.
“It doesn’t look really hilly here on paper but there’s a lot of things on the road. There’s some wind,” Roglič said. “You need to keep the focus, also with all the people on the road and go through without any unnecessary problems.”
There is no such thing as an easy day in a stage race. “You never know for the GC, uh. You have to go through every day,” the Slovenian said.
“But we will see in the next week already, when we start with the hard stages later on. [Like stage 6] we will finish it with two hard climbs, we will know more about the real contenders. And especially the days after the [stage 10] time trial.”
And as the jersey passes between his Jumbo-Visma teammates, when will it be his turn? “Hopefully,” he said, laughing. “I don’t need it really before Madrid.”
Roglič still in back pain
“The boys did a really good job of keeping Primož safe, first of all,” Jumbo-Visma sport director Grischa Niermann reflected to VeloNews after stage 3.
While Roglič has acquitted himself well, Niermann suggests he is still suffering back pain related to his Tour de France crash.
“Primož is not at 100 percent, he didn’t have the optimal preparation for this race, that’s no secret. But he’s here and he didn’t come here to finish last, so we’re here to fight for the victory.”