Primoz Roglic on stage 16 of the Tour de France.

Primoz Roglic has come to terms with his ‘brutal defeat’ at the Tour

Primoz Roglic looks back at his second place in the 2020 Tour de France.

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The time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles on the penultimate day of the Tour de France 2020 was one of the biggest upsets in modern cycling ever. Primoz Roglic lost his yellow jersey to fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar who went on to win his first Grand Tour. In an interview with French newspaper L’Équipe, Roglic looked back at last year’s Tour and saw the silver lining in his second place.

“Yes, it was a brutal defeat but more for the people around me,” Roglic said. “I always look forward and don’t ruminate on results. I now see that second place, which was so frustrating at the time, as something nice. I told the team [Jumbo-Visma] that we won by showing how strong the team was. Of course, we didn’t get that final win but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When you have done everything you can, you have to accept it.” 

Primoz Roglic went on to win the Vuelta a España in 2020. Team Jumbo-Visma raced the Spanish Grand Tour differently from the way it raced the Tour de France. 

“In hindsight we were calculating too much as a team. We didn’t ride on instinct, on fun,” Roglic told L’Équipe. “We wanted to control too much. Other teams were laughing at us because we were the bus and our opponents sat in the back of that bus. We drove them to the line every day but that was the strategy we chose. We had no sprinter so we felt it was our responsibility to control the race. In the Vuelta we didn’t do this and went full gas all days and see where we would end.”

Roglic doesn’t have doubts whether he will be accepted back as Jumbo-Visma’s team leader in the Tour de France after last year’s defeat. 

“Being a leader that doesn’t come natural to me though,” he said. “I am not that guy who stands in the middle of a group and starts talking. I come from a really individual sport and still have to learn how to be a leader and how to be open. I take it as challenge to become better, to improve. It’s the way to learn.”

The 31-year-old Slovenian is not a man of what ifs. He likes to look to the future and looks forward to finding the small things to improve. He does wants to burden himself wondering whether he can ultimately win the Tour or not.

“I like the process around it all: How am I going to achieve my limits? How can I to push my teammates, the staff? I prefer the path rather than the finish,” Roglic said. “Having only victory as a goal and you finish second, you are finished. You don’t find the strength to try again and it will take away the fun of preparation. I hope to get 0.5% better next year. That would make me super happy.”

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