Why it's extra important for BORA-hansgrohe and Roglic to spend a lot of time 'on the mountain' this year Cycling

Why it's extra important for BORA-hansgrohe and Roglic to spend a lot of time 'on the mountain' this year

Why it's extra important for BORA-hansgrohe and Roglic to spend a lot of time 'on the mountain' this year

While the cycling peloton across Europe (and by extension, the entire world) has been underway for a while, BORA-Hansgrohe's newest acquisition, Primoz Roglic, has yet to accumulate any race miles in his legs. The Slovenian is emphatically preparing for altitude this season, but what exactly is plan-Roglic? Sporting director Rolf Aldag explained it all on Mallorca.

That Roglic has not yet participated in any races is not surprising. Even in his final years with Jumbo-Visma, he typically started the season later than the bulk of the peloton. However, according to Aldag, there is an additional factor this season that increases the importance of the altitude stages: Roglic's ambition to win the Tour de France. To achieve this, he not only needs good physical condition but also a reliable team around him.

With colleagues he can trust, despite only being with BORA-Hansgrohe for a few months. Thus, this is also a goal of the German team's altitude training. "A Grand Tour is not only physically demanding but also mentally taxing. We aim for a strong team, both on the flat and in the mountains. However, we also need to be resilient during stressful situations," he explained the (provisional) Tour de France selection, which includes Jai Hindley, Aleksandr Vlasov, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Matteo Sobrero, Lennard Kämna, Nico Denz, and Danny van Poppel.

rolf aldag bora hansgrohe

"It's crucial to establish that blind trust between the Tour team and Primoz. Building that trust before the Tour is incredibly important," Aldag emphasized. "So the altitude training holds significant value in fostering that trust. We haven't been riding together for ten years, so we have to get to know each other. We'll be taking the team to Teide (where they currently are), Sierra Nevada, and Tignes. I see it as a distinction between old and new cycling, and that's where our focus lies," the German explained regarding the altitude training and race preparation ratio. For now, Roglic will only participate in three races leading up to the Tour: the Tour of the Basque Country, Critérium du Dauphiné, and possibly Paris-Nice.

Winning the Tour as the ultimate goal above all at BORA-hansgrohe

So, three races, but... don't expect to find Roglic in Monaco much. "Still, I have some bad news for Primoz's family because he's going to spend a lot of time on a mountain or volcano," Aldag said with his charismatic speaking style. "We discussed that right away. When Primoz goes to a race, he wants to be competitive. Altitude training helps with that, but you also have to consider recovery. We might want him to win in Valencia or Mallorca, but that's not our focus."

"Our goal is to win the Tour," Aldag reiterated. "So we're not worried about meeting Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogacar, Jonas Vingegaard, or any of the other top riders for the first time. We need to stay focused on that. Races like Catalonia and the Basque Country are irrelevant in that sense because our focus is solely on the Tour. That's also why we're skipping the Tour of Switzerland; it's too close. While he really wants to win that race, it might not happen this year. I'd rather see him there as a Tour de France winner," Aldag commented on Roglic's ambition to win all major one-week WorldTour stage races. Only Switzerland is missing from that list.

primoz roglic bora hansgrohe

Remains the collaboration with former Giro winner Jai Hindley and Aleksandr Vlasov. The latter already expressed positive sentiments about Roglic's arrival in conversation with this site, sentiments which Aldag reiterates. "Primoz's arrival brings a sort of positive pressure for everyone. He's someone who has won several Grand Tours, and Jai and Aleks can also benefit from that. Additionally, Primoz isn't 24 anymore, so in that sense, you can also see it differently."

Aldag discusses a "transition year" for individuals like Hindley and Vlasov. "And it's not as if they are merely servants now either. We also set individual goals for them. They will be participating in the Tour in support of Roglic, but we also need to adopt a tactical approach. We can afford to do so with riders who have finished fifth in the Tour or won the Giro. However, we shouldn't deceive anyone by claiming we're going with six leaders."

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News