Paris-Nice: Roglic debut for Bora – a start with a deficit

As of: March 10, 2024 8:58 p.m

Primoz Roglic, Bora-hansgrohe’s new Tour de France winner candidate, only ends up in 10th place at Paris-Nice, his first race for the new racing team. However, there is no panic, neither for him nor for his employer. But there is also room for improvement.

No, it wasn’t Primoz Roglic’s day. Shivering from the cold, he turned onto the Promenade des Anglais, the seaside promenade in Nice in the south of France. The Slovenian had already lost four minutes to stage winner Remco Evenepoel and the overall winner of the tour, Matteo Jorgenson. He quickly drove through to the team bus, even if the sun was peeking out through the clouds in the finish area. “Yes, I was really cold. And when I finally got the jacket in the race, I was already exhausted,” he said later. He didn’t want to see that as an excuse. “It’s the same for everyone after all. Some guys were better and some of us weren’t as good,” he said dryly.

Below expectations

But the disappointment was still evident in the winner of the 2022 tour. “Of course I came here with the intention of winning the race. Otherwise you don’t go to races. But it didn’t work. At least I had a good, intensive block. And I also stayed healthy and finished the race in one piece “, he tried to weigh up the negative and positive sides to the sports show.

His employer was also anything but happy. “We expected more here, there’s no need to mince words,” said team boss Ralph Denk to the sports show. “We have to analyze it now. And then it’s good if, in the next few hours and days, you find the reasons why things didn’t quite work out that way. “It’s only a bad thing if you can’t find any reasons, because then you don’t know where to start,” he decided.

There are a few starting points. Roglic already fell behind in the team time trial. The gap to the winner UAE Emirates was 54 seconds, and Visma – Lease a Bike with the eventual overall winner Jorgenson was still 16 seconds behind.

Started the marathon in “Usain Bolt style”.

The cause was starting too quickly. “Our drivers set off in Usain Bolt style, but they had a marathon ahead of them. And it will be difficult to pull it off like that,” said sports director Rolf Aldag, describing the problem. But he didn’t want to blame his drivers. “First of all, that speaks for the morale of the troops, that they don’t say: ‘Hey, let’s take a controlled approach, but let’s start here as if we want to win.’ And you can live with that much better than if everyone gets to the finish and says: ‘I could have done it and now I still have reserves.’ That would be bad. In that respect I think it’s very positive,” Aldag told the Sportschau.

Primoz Roglic (center) with his new teammates at Team Bora-hansgrohe

In general, Aldag saw the first race with Roglic in the new environment as a test run. “It’s about learning how we work together as a team. It’s about very simple things like: Should you drive in front of him or behind him? How do you wrap him up so that nothing happens to him, from the front, behind, right or left? These are new situations for everyone. And we always have briefings and conversations, new every time, and we develop. Of course he is a winner and would have liked to win here too. But this whole setup has to develop first “And we’re on the right track,” concluded Aldag.

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Of course, it will not have escaped his notice that Roglic was not in the physical condition to make a difference in a good, but by no means excellent field. The tour winners of the last four years, Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard, were missing. He was at least able to keep up with Remco Evenepoel, former world champion and Vuelta winner, until the penultimate day. But the only significant attack he made at Paris-Nice was ultimately just preparation for the decisive attack by eventual overall winner Matteo Jorgenson.

Too many rockets for the former ski jumper?

For Roglic, who usually comes out of training camps like a rocket, this difference was also a surprise. “There are a lot of rockets here now, aren’t there?” he said with a slightly sarcastic laugh.

Primoz Roglic (M.) with Jorgenson (l.) and Evenepoel (r.)

Bora-hansgrohe and the new top man Roglic start the season behind the other Tour de France opponents. That eats away at your self-confidence. However, the alarm will only sound when this trend is confirmed in the other races. The next appearance is planned for the Basque Country Tour from April 1st to 6th. The double Tour winner Vingegaard is also the yardstick. The Dane completed his season entry program with tour victories at O ​​Gran Camino and Tirreno Adriatico without any flaw. But with him, his teammates don’t have to get used to which side they should best protect him from.