"It wasn't easy, Primoz is my best friend in cycling" - Jan Tratnik opens up on Roglic's departure from Visma; Pogacar and Vingegaard rivalry

Jan Tratnik over the past few weeks has been a very popular and exciting figure in the world of cycling and; being in the position that he's at, he's able to provide very valuable insight on Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar's rivalry, as well as his feelings regarding the departure of Primoz Roglic from Team Visma | Lease a Bike.

"I try not to listen to or read Twitter and shit, if I may. I don't mind what others think, because this is our job and we know how it works," Tratnik said in words to Relevo regarding the past Vuelta a España. "We have people on the team who are dedicated to giving us instructions and we listen and execute the plan, nothing more. The thing about our three leaders is that they had different mentalities. Everyone wants to win. If you're there, and you're in the fight, of course you want to win."

Tratnik was a domestique for the team's trio of climbers that took the entire podium of last year's Vuelta, and he gives his insight on what happened in those three weeks that partly led Roglic to leave the Dutch team. "It's not easy to always run as a team, you know? For example, Primoz was preparing for La Vuelta for a long time. He was in shape. And yes, of course he was very happy for Sepp, but his emotions were definitely different, because in the end everyone wants to win, and if there is an opportunity, you don't want to waste it," he argues. "In the end, I think we did well: Sepp deserved to win on the road. I don't know what was said in the media, I have always preferred to stay out of it, not read anything and be happy with my life, oblivious to criticism."

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Tensions were quite high during a few days of the race, as Kuss made the effort to maintain the race lead, whilst both Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic both launched their own attacks separately - so as to be in pole position to net the red jersey in case Kuss was to crack. A never before seen in the history of the sport, where the three teammates were fighting each other for a Grand Tour victory whilst the competition was helpless. Roglic ultimately finished third after it being decided that Kuss had earned the win, but this confirmed to him that leading the team at the Tour de France ever again would be a very difficult task.

Hence, he departed to BORA - hansgrohe. Tratnik signed with Visma partly because of his compatriot and admits it was not positive news for him. "It wasn't easy, Primoz is my best friend in cycling, we are very close and we share a lot. His departure was not easy at all... The only thing I can do is congratulate you, because it takes courage to make a decision like that. He knows that right now this is the best team in the world, and that he has everything here, but even so he decided to take a risk, change his scene and try to go for the Tour de France."

Still friends, but on the road now Roglic will be a rival, mainly at the Tour de France where he and the German team are going all-in to conquer the yellow jersey. "Maybe he made a mistake, but I am sure that he will give it his all and that, when he finishes his career and looks back, he will be proud of the path he took. He has never been afraid to leave his comfort zone and that speaks highly of him. I think it was the best decision for him and I am happy and happy for him, because I know he is."

Tratnik has since built his own place in Visma. Not only is he taking results for himself, but later in the year he will race the cobbled classics, Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Olympic Games - in the latter he may team up with Roglic once again. But Tratnik did not have any influence in Roglic's decision to stay or leave the team. "No, he didn't ask me anything. In the end, he planned everything and did what was best for his future."

"Surely it will be difficult at first, because he has been in the same place for many years, with the same people and changing is never easy, but he is in a very strong team, not only in terms of staff, but also in terms of equipment, bicycles, nutritionists... He is going to bring you a lot of experience, but knowing him as I do, I'm sure he will also be open to receiving advice and listening to be a better cyclist."

Tratnik also gave his opinion on the rivalry between his team leader Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar. The 34-year old will be a key part of the Dane's support team at the Grand Boucle, and believes the two make each other stronger: "The truth is that it is a very interesting clash because Tadej won the Tour twice in a row, and when it seemed that Primoz was the only one capable of defeating him, Jonas came and proved to be the strongest. In the end, I think Jonas pushes Tadej and vice versa."

"They motivate each other, they push each other to work harder. In the end, between the two of them they have won the last four Tours de France. During the season they work very hard and prepare thoroughly because they want to do everything possible to show that they can defeat the other. And along the way, they make us all better."

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