Vuelta a Espana 2021: Bradley Wiggins: The mindset is the difference between Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar


Sir Bradley Wiggins hailed Vuelta a Espana 2021 winner Primoz Roglic as a “machine” after the Slovenian took his third consecutive overall victory at the year’s final Grand Tour.

Roglic was dominant virtually from start to finish in Spain, taking victory in the final time trial to bring up a fourth stage victory of the three-week race.

It means Slovenia continues its grip on two of the three Grand Tours after Tadej Pogacar secured back-to-back Tour de France victories earlier in the summer.

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Speaking on The Bradley Wiggins Show, his podcast with Eurosport, former Tour de France winner Wiggins was full of praise for Roglic, who has “the all-round package”.

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“He’s not aesthetically beautiful on the bike,” explained Wiggins. “Primoz [Roglic] looks too big to be a pure climber, he doesn’t look like a joy to watch on the time trial bike, but he’s just a machine who seems to do everything well.

“You couldn’t have predicted what he would be now. To be one of the best Grand Tour riders in the world and climb and time trial like he does he’s got the all-round package. That’s what I think makes him unique.”

Comparisons with compatriot Pogacar come naturally for two riders establishing themselves as the dominant stage racers of a generation.

The pair have very different profiles and routes into the sport, with Roglic arriving after competing internationally as a ski jumper and Pogacar stepping into the world tour peloton already regarded as something of a prodigy after victory at the 2018 Tour de l’Avenir.

Wiggins believes that makes them hard to compare, particularly as the pair are so different on and off the bike.

“There’s an age gap, of course, so you can’t compare them like-for-like, and they’ve had different entries into the sport,” continued Wiggins.

https://shows.acast.com/bradley-wiggins-show/episodes/remarkable-primoz-roglic-races-to-third-vuelta-title

Tadej was drinking apple juice out of a beaker on the plane out to Japan; Primoz had a small glass of wine. There’s a youthfulness and naiveté about Tadej – he’s a genius on the bike, a phenomenon taking you back to a young Greg LeMond, a young Eddy Merckx.

“It is the mindset that is the difference between the two. With Tadej you will see a display of genius and youthful exuberance whereas Primoz just ploughs along. His whole package has not got star quality, if that makes sense, whereas Tadej has a rock star quality.

“Primoz Roglic is much more in the style of Miguel Indurain – like a machine. It’s very organic and he just wins and wins and wins. I think that he is the most consistent performer.”

To challenge Roglic and Pogacar looks an unenviable task with both in such strong form and with the full weight of two well-resourced teams behind them.

‘Oh my life!’ – Roglic wins Stage 21 time trial in style

However, Sean Kelly, 1988 winner at the Vuelta and a guest on the podcast, believes that Ineos Grenadiers’ Tom Pidcock could challenge the pair in the future after making his Grand Tour debut in Spain.

“[Tom} Pidcock is a future one,” said Kelly.

He’d never done anything like a three-week race and he will come out of it with a lot of confidence. He is one for the future but that is at least three or four years down the road.

Kelly also reserved praise for Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammates.

“Tactically they rode just a perfect race and he won comfortably,” said the Irishman.

“In the time trial today you could see that hunger was there, and [Roglic] won another stage.

“He changed his programme totally this year. He came back with a bang at the Olympics and has continued on with a bang at the Vuelta.”

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