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Primož Roglič hoping knee issues don’t flare up again ahead of Tour de France

Victory isn't priority for the Jumbo-Visma star's return to racing ahead of Tour de France clash with Tadej Pogačar.

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LA VOULTE-SUR-RHONE, France (VN) — Primož Roglič races this week at Critérium du Dauphiné for the first time since a knee injury derailed his spring campaign and casted doubt on his Tour de France preparation.

With the Tour just weeks away, the Jumbo-Visma star is hoping to push through this week’s challenging terrain in the French Alps without another flareup.

“I feel good and that’s important for this moment,” Roglič said Sunday at the start. “I hope to have good sensations this week. I am healthy again and I am here to race.”

The Slovenian star was the center of attention Sunday morning in this small village along the Rhone Valley, and everyone wanted to know how he’s feeling.

With a highly anticipated clash with Tadej Pogačar just weeks away in the 2022 Tour, Roglič insisted he’s training without pain.

“After the Basque Country, I went back to Slovenia and it took quite awhile in the end. I was three weeks off the bike,” he said. “I started to feel better, but then I got back again. I just wanted to take my time and now I am feeling good, and all of that is behind us.”

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Roglič is coming off a three-week training camp at altitude in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, and said all signals are good for the Tour.

Roglič starts the eight-stage French race that he’s never won, but overall victory isn’t the main priority this week.

“The main goal is to come back after awhile away from the bike and to be back in the race with all of our guys,” he said. “On the other hand, you want to do your best. It’s not just us here, and there are some other strong guys. It will be fun to watch.”

A mid-race individual time trial will favor Roglič as well as teammates Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard.

With the Tour remaining the elusive and ultimate prize for the team, the Dauphiné will be a pathway back to high-level competition in the approach to the Tour.

“We want to come out of this week functioning as the full team,” he said. “It’s the same guys we had at Paris-Nice and we want to work good together. We want to get the best of each of every one of us.

“I need to come here to get some racing days in my legs that will make me better,” he said. “Last year we skipped it, and now I need to get some intensity in my legs, so why not? This is a good race to improve myself.”