FACT No. 1: A former ski jumper becomes a world-class cyclist
Before starting his cycling career, Primož Roglič was devoted to ski jumping. In 2006, his team won the silver medal at the junior world cup in ski jumping in Kranj and a year later, they even became world champions in Italy. He finally said goodbye to ski jumping in 2012, although he could have had ended his ski jumping career back in 2007, when he experienced a bad fall in Planica, which was the largest ski flying hill in the world at the time. Even though he broke his nose and suffered a concussion, he persisted with ski jumping for another four years, gathering experience which would also benefit him in cycling.
Back in 2012, he was already tackling cycling hills as a recreational cyclist. Soon, he soon proved to have an incredible talent for road cycling.
He entered the world of cycling by joining the KK Radenska cycling club and later on with KK Adria Mobil, the organiser of the Tour of Slovenia cycling race. He then switched teams and joined Team Jumbo – Visma, a UCI WorldTour team, the jersey of which he has been wearing as he has been leading the pack at this year's Giro d'Italia. But it was Bogdan Fink, the so called “father of the Tour of Slovenia cycling race and the KK Adria Mobil cycling club that saw his talent that could put him among the top cyclists in the world. This sports phenomenon was also noticed by the scouts of the Dutch team, to which he belongs today.
Although his cycling career began not long ago, Roglič has already celebrated several victories, the most resounding of which is undoubtedly this year’s La Vuelta a España, making him the first Slovenian to have clinched an overall win at all three Grand Tours. He challenged the cycling world’s elite in the Giro d'Italia 2019 by reaching an overall third place, while winning the race in Spain proved that he is not a one-hit wonder; in fact, he is currently the hottest name in the cycling community. His ascent was foretold by his stage victories in previous seasons, at Tour de France (in 2017 and 2018) and at Giro d'Italia (in 2016). Roglič also boasts two wins at the Tour of Slovenia (in 2015 and 2018). In September 2017, he won a silver medal in the men’s time trial at the World Cycling Championships in Bergen, Norway.
FACT No. 2: A wonder boy of Slovenian sport
Who would have thought that a cyclists who only bought his first bicycle in 2012 would win the Tour of Slovenia cycling race in 2015. Primož is certainly a unique sports phenomenon, who has set his sights on becoming an all-round cyclist – and the diversity of Slovenia has helped him a lot in achieveing this. At first, he was only good at cycling up hills (there are many in Slovenia, making the land a perfect practice ground), but he later on became also good at cycling on the flat, for which he trained on many cycling routes in the Dolenjska region.
Slovenia has many cycling hills that are suitable for the training of professional cyclists. Some of the most difficult, but also most popular, certainly include the ascent to the Vršič Pass, Mt Mangart, Krvavec, Rogla, and Areh. Roglič also likes to train in the Mariborsko Pohorje Hills, which offers more than 20 cycling routes with over 1000 kilometres and an ascent of more than 1000 metres.
Slovenia also offers interesting cycling paths for lovers of road cycling; these will take you on a wide variety of terrains, so cyclists can choose to have a different experience every time. In the Dolenjska region, numerous cycling routes run along Krka River in stunning nature, past natural, cultural, and historical sights. Dolenjska offers 12 circular tours, starting in Šmarješke Toplice or at the Otočec Hotels – these can cover a distance of even more than 65 kilometres. More than 540 kilometres are available for cycling training in Dolenjska.
But let us continue the story of Roglič: the victory at the jubilee 25th Tour of Slovenia cycling race finally gave him the status of a cycling star among Slovenians, and there were only a handful of Slovenians last year who did not watch the Tour de France and cheer for the Slovenian hero. His excellent performance at this year’s Giro d’Italia attracted even greater attention at home and abroad, and his overall victory at La Vuelta sparked a wave of veritable cycling euphoria in Slovenia.
Fact No. 3: The cycling euphoria called Rogla continues also this year
Primož was born and raised in Trbovlje, in Zasavje region. He attended secondary school and university in Kranj. When he is in Slovenia, you will most probably find him in Hoče, in the heart of Štajerska, where he found the love of his life, Lora Klinc, his most faithful fan, with whom he has son Lev.
It is in Štajerska that he has now found cycling routes that relax him and allow him to undertake good cycling training. He loves riding up to Areh, his favourite hill, but, of course, he also rides on all of the other parts of the Pohorje Hills, too. Considering that Roglič once wished to become the best ski jumper in the world, his dreams look very different now. Cycling is now his dream, and it will be interesting to see where his cycling dreams take him.
Tour of Slovenia = an excellent springboard for the Tour de France
According to cyclists, the Tour of Slovenia is ideally placed on the race calendar of the International Cycling Association, as it takes place three weeks before the Tour de France and is an ideal test and preparation ahead of the legendary Tour. It was the five stages of the Tour of Slovenia which prepared Primož Roglič for the 2018 Tour de France, where he had two stage wins.
After not having competed in the Tour of Slovenia since he won it in 2015, Primož again took part in the race last year and won it. He was thrilled by the supporters cheering along the route, who displayed advanced knowledge of professional cycling.
Although he did not compete in this year’s race, he might surprise his loyal fans on home turf next year, at the 27th Tour of Slovenia.
Bike through Slovenia
Explore the diversity of the landscape in Slovenia on foot or by bike. A network of cycling paths for everyone await you in all parts of Slovenia. Think green and explore towns and cities using regular or e-bicycles, which you can hire in numerous Slovenian cities.