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.
Roglič attracted more attention after winning stages at the most prominent multiple-stage bicycle races, such as the Giro d'Italia (2016) and Tour de France (2017 and 2018). In September 2017, he won a silver medal in the time trial at the World Championship in Bergen.
In 2019, Roglič’s cycling career really took off. At the 2019 Giro d'Italia, he came third while throwing down the gauntlet to the cycling elite and later showed that he was not a one-hit wonder at the Tour of Spain. After winning the 2019 Vuelta a España, he became the first Slovenian with an overall win at a Grand Tour, one of the three major three-week cycling races.
But, his journey towards the cycling Olympus did not end here. Roglič was considered to be the main favourite to win the 2020 Tour de France as he wore the yellow jersey for most of the race. However, he was overtaken at the end by a fellow Slovenian, Tadej Pogačar, in the fight for overall victory.
He continues his path of victory in 2021. During the Tour of the Basque Country, he showed his teeth to his competitors in his own style and won his second Basque beret, traditionally worn by the race’s overall winner. He was accompanied on the podium by Tadej Pogačar, who was third overall.
Roglič showed his strength again in subsequent races during which, unlike on the Tour de France, luck was with him. First, he spectacularly won the Liège–Bastogne–Liège, a one-day classic cycling race in Belgium, where he surprised Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe in the frenetic final sprint of the race. He proved that he was still the hottest name in the cycling world at the 2020 Vuelta a España where he succeeded in defending the title he won in 2019.
Slovenian Tour de France 2020
Slovenians are bound never to forget the 2020 Tour de France, as it wrote a new chapter in Slovenian cycling history. Primož Roglič came to the race as one of the favourites and donned the yellow jersey after the first week. However, in the penultimate stage – the time-trial – Tadej Pogačar, another outstanding young Slovenian cyclist who “exploded” on the Tour and was literally glued to Roglič the whole time, managed to "undress" him. Pogačar thus became the somewhat surprising overall winner of the Tour and the first Slovenian to do so, but Roglič still managed to be at the exceptional Pog’s side on the Champs Elysées winner's podium.
In addition to the exceptional pair, which overcame the world’s cycling elite, there were three other Slovenians on the Tour: Luka Mezgec, who was second in two stages, Matej Mohorič and Jan Polanc.