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Primož Roglič is joining Bora-Hansgrohe with the express goal of Tour de France success

Ralph Denk: A copy-paste of Primož Roglič's Jumbo knowledge won't guarantee Tour de France success

Bora-Hansgrohe manager says his team will find their own way to Tour glory and that Hindley could skip the Giro to focus on July with Roglič

Clock13:01, Tuesday 14th November 2023

Ralph Denk pulled off the transfer of the season when he prized Primož Roglič away from Jumbo-Visma and signed the Slovenian to a two-year contract at Bora-Hansgrohe.

The German team now believe that they have the missing piece of the puzzle that will land them a Tour de France title in 2024, with Roglič set to battle former teammate Jonas Vingegaard as well as Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenepoel.

Roglič has already linked up with his new team in both Europe and the United States of America as he looks to hit the ground running next year, and he is likely to make his Bora debut in either Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, according to Denk. 

While the Slovenian has brought new energy to Denk’s team, the general manager is well aware that simply replicating Roglič’s past training and racing schedule will not be enough to guarantee Tour success.

The 34-year-old certainly brings valuable experience and knowledge with him from Jumbo-Visma after the team won all three Grand Tours in 2024, but Denk believes that the team and his new recruit must gel and find their own path to Tour glory.

"It’s an important job but we also need to find our own way," Denk told GCN in an exclusive interview on Tuesday morning.

"We can’t just copy and paste the past. That’s not a game-changer. You have to bring a mix, look left and right, and go your own way. We have our own strategy and way with our performance team."

Roglič linked up with his future Bora-Hansgrohe teammates in October, meeting riders and directors before sitting down with the performance team within the squad. While he has brought former Jumbo coach Marc Lamberts with him, Denk has also been impressed with how Roglič demonstrated his leadership qualities right away.

According to Denk, every rider and member of staff is willing to raise the game to support Roglič’s Tour de France challenge next summer.

“It was impressive for me how quickly he settled into the team,” Denk said.

"He was friendly. He has already taken the leadership role and brought some good ideas to the table in terms of structure and performance. We’ve had some really good days together and we’re looking forward to the first training camp.

"We’ve also been at Specialized with Primož to test the TT position and equipment. We’ve already made a big step forward because we’re using a new bike. In the next few days he’ll be at the Red Bull centre for some tests and then we do another track test for aerodynamics, so for Primož especially, it’s quite a busy off-season. We need to start working immediately.

“If you talk to him, you immediately feel it and want to give more than 100 per cent to be successful. If you talk to him, you realise that he loves what he does and that it’s not hard for him to jump on the bike everyday. I think he’s one of the best role models.”

Careful 2024 planning at Bora-Hansgrohe

Along with making his Bora debut in March, Denk also thinks Roglič could play a part in the Ardennes Classics before dialling his focus towards the Tour.

With Roglič not defending his Giro d’Italia crown from this year, Bora need to find a solution for their GC leadership at the first Grand Tour of next season.

Jai Hindley, who won the race in 2022, would be an obvious candidate but Denk has suggested that the Australian could skip the Giro and instead focus on the Tour de France, where he would race side-by-side Roglič.

"I see Jai more at the Tour. We have a long TT in the Giro and it could be a big benefit for us to have him with Primož at the Tour instead," he said.

“It’s not decided yet but to win the title from 2022 is super hard for Jai because of the super long TTs in the Giro and, to be honest, he’s a pure climber and the third week in the Giro is not as hard as before. There’s no Mortirolo or Zoncolan, so the really hard climbs that make the difference are not there. The steep climbs are missing, where Jai can make the difference, as he did in 2022."

That could leave Cian Uijtdebroeks, Aleksandr Vlasov, Dani Martínez or Lennard Kämna with the chance to lead at the Giro. A final decision will be made in the coming weeks at Bora’s next round of camps and meetings. The Tour de France pre-selection, on the other hand, will not be made until the end of April or early May.

"Our strategy is to give riders you mention the chance to do something up until the end of April. We have a lot of races for the climbers until then, and hopefully, everyone will take their chance," Denk said.

"At the beginning of May, we’ll start with the pre-selection for the Tour de France. For me, it makes sense to wait until after the races in April.”

For Denk, though, the Tour de France remains the ultimate goal. He has led his team to multiple wins in one-day races, taken a Giro d’Italia title, and worn the yellow jersey as recently as this year with Hindley, but an overall tilt at the Tour is the next aim.

"The Tour, it would mean a lot. To be on the start line just as a contender, a real contender, is something new for us and it’s something that we need to deal with. There’s attention and pressure but we can do well when we do our jobs.

"For sure, for me as a person and manager it’s always been a dream to win the Tour with a team, but if it doesn’t happen the sun will still rise the next day. It’s a goal, though."

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