"I still stand by my words" - Primoz Roglic talks of gratitude for cycling, key to stage-racing and Fred Wright crash

Primoz Roglic was forced to abandon the 2022 Vuelta a Espana under dramatic circumstances after crashing in sight of the line in stage 16 whilst attacking and taking time on Remco Evenepoel. At the time he blamed Bahrain - Victorious' Fred Wright for the crash, and he stands by his words.

"Decision to race was taken at the last moment," Roglic revealed to Radio Slovenia regarding the Vuelta, after he had to take time off after abandoning the Tour de France with injuries. "I had one week of training, my competition have been focused on this race for several months. It's obvious that Remco is a great talent and he was definitely better in first 9 stages. My aim was to limit the loss."

Soon after the start however it became apparent that the Slovenian had the form, winning the hilltop finish on stage four and taking the red jersey. However, he lost significant time to Evenepoel in the first summit finish of the race as he flew off with Enric Mas.

"But then I slowly started to come back," he said. "We will never know what would have happened if I stayed in the race to the end, but I had good feelings and was very optimistic before last week." Roglic had gained some time over the Sierra de la Pandera and Sierra Nevada stages, and was sitting in second place into the final week, where he attacked on the opening day, before crashing out of the race.

In a moment of bad luck, he collided with Fred Wright in the final sprint. It was at the time widely agreed that none were to blame for the race incident. "I was asking myself if it was necessary to say or write anything. But then in the end why always be silent. I just wanted to express that I want to race in an atmosphere of fair play. That was my point," Roglic said.

"I still stand by my words. I think I had to let it out. It's easier for me to return now. Otherwise I might not even want to get back in the peloton." These words come as clear confirmation that he stands by his point, although the general audience agrees that the Briton was not to blame for the crash.

Roglic however focused on more positive aspects of his involvement in the sport: "In every race we are trying to find out who the best racer is, but always in the spirit of fair play. That's a value I am living by. We all have to fight that cycling remains a fair sport. Thank god I found this sport, especially as I am not in it from the start. I'm enjoying immensely to be a part of it, I got a lot from it but I also gave a lot."

The Jumbo-Visma rider, one of the most prominent and successful stage-racers in the modern peloton, has said what he believes is the key to his success: "I'm always saying: If you want to win, you have to be the best on all types of terrain, it doesn't depend on stages. I'm a type of a cyclist who can race in any kind of stages when I'm in a good shape," he answered.

"I'm not a specialist for short steep climbs nor for long low gradient ones. I'm not even a time trial specialist. My priority is to be on a high level on all types of terrain when I start the new season," he concluded, having a focus similar to that of Alejandro Valverde in his best years.

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