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Itzulia Basque Country: Primož Roglič keeps time trial streak alive in Spain

Jumbo-Visma star boasts 16 individual time trial victories in his career, with half coming south of the Pyrénées.

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No wonder Primož Roglič enjoys racing in Spain.

The Jumbo-Visma star kept his winning streak alive against the clock Monday in the opening stage time trial at Itzulia Basque Country with a narrow victory ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

“I’ve always enjoyed racing here, and I don’t even focus on all these things that I never lost a time trial here,” he told reporters at the line. “Let it last as long as possible, eh? It’s just crazy.”

Going back to 2017, Roglič has won every individual time trial he’s raced on Spanish roads.

That makes it eight in a row, with four at the Basque Country tour and another four at the Vuelta a España.

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In 2018 and 2021, he won the overall at Basque Country with his TT victories, while in 2017 he ended up fifth overall.

The time trial victories were key elements of his overall victories at the Vuelta, which he won three years in a row from 2019 to 2021.

Roglič has won 16 individual time trials in his career, with half coming south of the Pyrénées.

The statistic underscores Roglič’s steady performances against the clock.

One of his first major victories came in the 2016 Giro d’Italia when he won a climbing time trial, a result that was one of the first indicators of his rising prospects in the peloton. He’s since won two more time trials at the Giro.

The feather in his time trial cap is the Olympic gold medal he won last year in Tokyo against the clock.

Roglič hasn’t fared as well at the Tour de France, where he’s never finished better than fifth against the clock.

That includes his struggles in the 36km climbing time trial at La Planche des Belles Filles, when he started in the yellow jersey but slipped to second behind Tadej Pogačar.

Roglič carries the leader’s jersey into Tuesday’s 207.6km second stage from Leitza to Viana.

“It was quite a special time trial,” he said. “I like it up and down and a bit technical, and it’s great that I am managed to win. It’s super hard to win and I am happy for every win. It doesn’t mean anything yet, it’s just 5 seconds.

“It’s still far from the finish in this race,” Roglič said. “Tomorrow a new challenge is coming. We have a strong team here, and we go day by day.”