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If you’re looking for seething team tensions and co-captaincy clashes at this year’s Tour de France, you’re not going to find them inside the Jumbo-Visma team bus.
“Primož acts a little bit like an older brother for Jonas. He really takes his time to explain things or help Jonas with things – training, racing,” team boss Merijn Zeeman told VeloNews. “It’s quite unique … They are a double-act.”
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Behind-the-scenes beefs between teammates can bubble in the pressure pot of a grand tour. Team Sky, Movistar and Quick-Step all suffered shimmers of mid-race resentment in recent years.
Jumbo-Visma can’t see that happening when Roglič and Vinegaard share Tour de France leadership this summer.
“Primož puts a lot of energy into making Jonas better. They work together so well,” Zeeman said.
“Primož welcomes sharing the leadership with someone so strong, and that they do it together. That way, he doesn’t have all the pressure in races,” he said. “And when you are deep in the final on the hardest days, and you have some cards to play and make it more difficult for opponents – that’s really a big, big advantage for us as a team and for him personally [Roglič].”
This week’s Itzulia Basque Country gives the Rogo-Vingo duo an ideal dry-run in sharing stewardship. The two line up as equals for this week’s tour as they battle Remco Evenepoel and a super-charged Ineos squad.
💛 THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE: @rogla
— Itzulia Basque Country (@ehitzulia) April 5, 2022
“Primož already won here twice. It suits him well and he likes to race here,” team director Marc Reef said. “Jonas will also get the chance to go for the win. They can make each other stronger.”
It’s so far, so good for Jumbo-Visma in the Basque hills.
Roglič ripped home fastest in Monday’s TT and Vingegaard sits poised just 20 seconds back. The Dutch crew’s master and apprentice are well in the frame for the climbs to come, and Roglič will be mentoring Vingegaard through every one of them.
‘It was like Primož teaching him:’ Vingegaard undergoes the Roglič apprenticeship
Vingegaard’s rise toward the top of the classification pack has been meteoric.
Long touted the “next big thing” of stage-racing, the 25-year-old exploded into the eyeline when Roglič tagged the Danish sensation into play after he abandoned last year’s Tour.
Vingegaard went on to become the only rider capable of cracking Pogačar and finished “best of the rest” in Paris, leaving Jumbo-Visma another rider to have tasted defeat at the hands of the modern-day Merckx.
Fast forward to the present, and Pogačar looks as indomitable as ever and is way out front in the Tour de France form-book. With that, Roglič is investing in his protégé’s development in the hope the two can unlock the UAE ace together.
“Last year, all the way toward the Tour de France, Primož was constantly telling Jonas that he could end up on the podium that he could win the Tour de France. Primož has really big confidence in him. They would always be talking in training, it was like Primoz teaching him,” Zeeman said.
“They still do now. You see Primož and Jonas together at camps a lot, riding, talking, laughing.”
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And that’s not just the view from the outside. Vingegaard told VeloNews earlier this year how Roglič helped him raise the game.
“Primož is a really good friend of mine. I think we work really well together, I’m really looking forward to racing with him at the Tour,” Vingegaard said. “He’s a great champion and he wants to teach the young guys new things.”
Tour de France tag-team the way to stop Pogačar?
This week in the Basque country will show just how well cycling’s new double-act dovetails.
A handful of Ardennes classics and a long trip to altitude means they won’t be testing race tactics and duo dynamics again until June’s Critérium du Dauphiné. From there, the grand départ – and the looming presence of Pogačar – aren’t far on the horizon.
Zeeman hopes the squad’s pivot to a double-trouble tactic after years relying on Roglič could reshape the racing to come.
“If you want to beat Pogačar you have to be strong, but also be smart,” Zeeman said.
“Everybody knows that when he’s in the race, you have to do something different do or else you will end up second. If it’s coming to a point where Pogačar just needs his power, then it will be very difficult to beat him. That’s where having lots of options could work for us. It will be different to what we have done, but we believe in it.”
Jumbo-Visma will be relying on Roglič to fast-track Vingegaard’s through his grand tour academy in the coming weeks.