Primož Roglič has confirmed that his sole racing engagement before taking on the Giro d’Italia in May will come next month at the Volta a Catalunya.
The Slovenian had planned a light spring programme following major shoulder surgery last October. He underwent a bone graft operation needed in order to stabilise his left shoulder following a series of crashes and dislocations.
It seems as though Roglič has stuck to that plan, taking it to the extreme with only the seven-day Volta a Catalunya on his schedule – training camps aside – ahead of his return to the May Grand Tour.
Speaking to Slovenian national broadcaster RTV (opens in new tab), the 33-year-old confirmed his upcoming plans to take on the Catalan race, which runs from March 20-26. He last competed at the race as a neo-pro six years ago.
“Before the Giro itself, my only race will be in Catalunya,” he said. “Now I’m in Tenerife. It’s my first real preparation for the season this year.
“I only raced Catalunya in 2016 and I’m looking forward to going back. This year there’s a lot of climbing and it will be a real test of where I am going on the climbs.”
Roglič noted that his shoulder problems are now in the past, saying that the problem joint is now working as it should. He’s had a series of issues with his left shoulder, dislocating it on the final day of Paris-Nice two years ago and again on the cobbled stage 5 of last year’s Tour de France.
The triple Vuelta a España winner made the decision to undergo surgery at the end of a season which also saw him crash out of the Vuelta on stage 16 while battling for the red jersey.
Following the procedure – which saw a piece of bone from elsewhere added to his shoulder – he wouldn’t get back on the bike until the end of the year, but his problems are now behind him.
“I have no problems with my shoulder,” he said. “It’s working as it should, everything is good, and I’m healthy. I’m well on my back to training with everyone else.
“So far, everything is going according to plan. I will be ready for the start of the Giro. We’ll see how well I do when I race Catalunya – this will be a real test to show where we are.”
Following Catalunya, where he raced to second place on the final stage in 2016, he’ll head back to Mount Teide for a team training camp ahead of the Giro. He’ll face off against Vuelta champion Remco Evenepoel at the Giro, as well as João Almeida, Aleksandr Vlasov, and Geraint Thomas in a race featuring three time trials totalling just over 70km.
Roglič said that the trio of stages will be vital in deciding the maglia rosa, noting that he’s now fully able to ride in his time trial position following his shoulder troubles.
“After Catalunya, I have planned a longer preparatory training camp for the Giro,” he said. “The Giro will be decided in the time trials, or at least they will be the deciding factor.
“After my operation, it was a little more difficult for me to sit on the TT bike because I have an extreme position, but now I can do it normally. Ahead of the Giro, I will devote as much time as possible to [training on it].”