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In my opinion, neither are top 5 favorites and medals should be nearly impossible. I'm also fairly sure that the Olympic ITT is never won by a rider going all out in the road race? I easily put Roglic ahead in a fresh ITT still, and the entire case for Pogacar rests on Tour + ORR fatigue, which doesn't help him vs other contenders anyway.

What's also not discussed is seasonal planning and motivation of the riders in the first place. Pogacar seems much more set on La Vuelta and the OTT doesn't fit in great with that.

Is there a TT in Dauphine?
 
In my opinion, neither are top 5 favorites and medals should be nearly impossible. I'm also fairly sure that the Olympic ITT is never won by a rider going all out in the road race? I easily put Roglic ahead in a fresh ITT still, and the entire case for Pogacar rests on Tour + ORR fatigue, which doesn't help him vs other contenders anyway.

What's also not discussed is seasonal planning and motivation of the riders in the first place. Pogacar seems much more set on La Vuelta and the OTT doesn't fit in great with that.

Is there a TT in Dauphine?
Cancellara won the ITT in 2008 after getting bronze in the road race in a race where he did not have one single teammate, so I think he went all out there...
 
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In my opinion, neither are top 5 favorites and medals should be nearly impossible. I'm also fairly sure that the Olympic ITT is never won by a rider going all out in the road race? I easily put Roglic ahead in a fresh ITT still, and the entire case for Pogacar rests on Tour + ORR fatigue, which doesn't help him vs other contenders anyway.
Cancellara nearly won both in 2008. But there are so few data points it's difficult to extrapolate anyway.
 
Seriously, lol.
Belgium took silver with 2 different riders in the past 2 years, and bronze with yet another rider the year before at the worldchampionships. Belgium took 3 consecutive European titles with 2 different riders and podiumed each time the event was held since it's inception.

How unfair that these hacks get 2 spots and Slovenia doesn't.

Seriously.

Also, Belgium is #1 in the world, not Slovenia. Belgium gets an extra spot not for being #1 in the world, but because the Olympics were supposed to be held in 2020 but got postponed. Evenepoel became European champion ITT in 2019, securing an extra spot for Belgium at the 2020 Olympics. If Slovenia wanted that spot, they should have sent someone to the EU or WC ITT and won it.
I don't think anybody is suggesting it is wrong that Belgium has two spots but instead just that it is a shame for fans of road cycling that we will be denied to see one of the superstars of the sport going for an Olympic medal due to the ridiculous one rider per country rule for all but a tiny number of nations.
 
I don't think anybody is suggesting it is wrong that Belgium has two spots but instead just that it is a shame for fans of road cycling that we will be denied to see one of the superstars of the sport going for an Olympic medal due to the ridiculous one rider per country rule for all but a tiny number of nations.
I mean, the reason is probably not the UCI but the IOC.

Cycling has/had a very bad reputation within the IOC due to the rampant doping issues. Deservedly or not, compared to other sports, the general image of cycling was terrible. I remember talk about cycling possibly being dropped from the Olympics completely, and certainly compared to other sports (swimming for example, it's ridiculous one athlete even has the possibility to win 6 medals in one Olympics, even if he's the best of all time), the cycling programme at the Olympics has suffered over the years with the exception of introducing MTB/BMX and more women's events.

If it was just up to the UCI I think they would be happy to start more athletes in the TT, introduce cyclocross, bring back some traditional track disciplines, etc.
 
Roglic wouldn't get a medal in the TT even if he doesn't have to do a GT right before.
True, at the moment Dennis looks like the absolute favourite here, then there are van Aert, Ganna, Evenepoel, Cavagna. None of the latter three will do the Tour, so they should be able to prepare the time trial very well. It's a very hilly route, but if you can focus on the time trial completely that will help the specialists a lot.
 
I mean, the reason is probably not the UCI but the IOC.

Cycling has/had a very bad reputation within the IOC due to the rampant doping issues. Deservedly or not, compared to other sports, the general image of cycling was terrible. I remember talk about cycling possibly being dropped from the Olympics completely, and certainly compared to other sports (swimming for example, it's ridiculous one athlete even has the possibility to win 6 medals in one Olympics, even if he's the best of all time), the cycling programme at the Olympics has suffered over the years with the exception of introducing MTB/BMX and more women's events.

If it was just up to the UCI I think they would be happy to start more athletes in the TT, introduce cyclocross, bring back some traditional track disciplines, etc.
They should have reduced the track cycling competitions, there's a ridiculous amount of them. (And although cyclocross is a nice sport I can totally understand it's not Olympic.)
 
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Since I remember some here enjoying the Interview translations (Carols especially) during the Tour last year I have tried another thing. I have found the article that Lora, Primož's girlfriend wrote before his first Tour in 2017 (where he ended up winning that Galibier stage). Obviously it was only written in Slovene but I always liked reading it and I wanted to give other people an opportunity to read it as well. The translation is mine so it might not be perfect at all times (especially since translating certain phrases is not always possible) but it is certaintly better than google translate. So here you go. Enjoy.

My boyfriend is going to take part in the Tour the France
Author: Lora Klinc, June 2017


At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win the Maraton Alpe, a recreative cycling event (in Slovenia). Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world.

I've always liked all that is French. Perhaps due to the fact that I am a bit of a Frenchwoman myself, my granny comes from a stony village Sospel above Menton, perhaps because I like the nonchalance and »je ne sais quoi«, or perhaps becuase of the cheese and wine. And Le Tour – I have known the names of mythical climbs already as a schoolgirl watching the fights of pink Ullrich and yellow Lance – Tour is France, more French than the stinkiest French cheese, Tour is like Eifell, barettes and fois gras mixed together. The French know how to live, spectacles and exagerations are written in their genes. How much enjoyement there is on the other side of the fence, I do not know, but since it is the race of all races, probably none what so ever. On one side of the fence, there will be me, on the other my Primož who will start his first Tour de France.

The thought that not so long ago seemed ridiculous now promises more an more. I can imagine that while there are still doubts, it is definitely not a story about a miracle. When someone says »It is not possible«, I could not care less anymore. If every day is like being on the edge of a miracle, then so be it. In the end I am the one who is counting the days without him. I got used to the fact that doping control knocking on the door replaced my alarm clock and that Christmas and Sundays do not exist. Everyone asks where he is and they don't understand why he is not always here. Filling up bidons is a routine, as is pretending to understand his stories about watts. You learn to respect and protect cyclists on the road, because you know that for someone else he could be »yours«. It is not just departures and airports, the definition of simple things is… simply different in the view of professional cycling.

This year is all about the Tour and Tour ahead of everything. Such a long race can be a problem even for a spectator, especially if my memory about the Giro d'Italia last year includes three weeks of digestion issues, heart rythm problems, trouble recognizing the right guy in the pack and downhills – downhills are horrible. He was on the ground five times in the Giro. The fifth time you run out of words to ease the wounds.

Last day with him on the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. The landscape barren, stone blocks sticking up into the air that is not there. Granada at the foot of the mountain is covered with fog due to the immense heat. I sit on the artificial grass in the middle of the athletic stadium at 2350 meters, hangover from the altitude, avoiding snakes, daily hikes at 3600m and 8 degree Celsius ice baths into which the psycho throws an aditional two bags of ice »Because it's good for the legs«.
It can't harm I think to myself as I immerse myself into the water – the shock that follows shows once again what a difference there is between a cyclist and a non-cyclist, serves me right, why am I even listening to him… the gentleman, whos head I would most dearly like to separate from his shoulders right now, is sitting in the ice water and explaining something about Titanic and the only sign of discomfort I notice is that he is slighlty holding the edge of the bath. I shake my head, wave my hand at him and leave, why the f*ck do I need to do that…
The stadium – I am in the middle and the only other person on it next to me is Primož. On the track, where normal people run, he is doing countless rounds on his TT bike. Even though I wave at him every time so much that I nearly dislocate my shoulder, he does not notice me. Hunched over his bars he just follows the white line and by now I am used to it, thinking, well maybe this is all completely normal. Him, alone with his goal.

Before he went to Sierra to the training camp we went for a vacation. To France. I have imagined myself sitting in the sun with a good croissant, a hat and some bad French coffee. In that moment of joy I have forgotten what vacation means in a pro-cyclists dictionary. I don't believe I have mentioned yet that I am definitely not a cyclist myself. A bike with thin tyres has been in my possesion for less than half a year and I have done about as much kilometers as a random recreational cyclist does in a single week. Not to mentions clipping in the shoes, the broken dreams of every cycling beginer. Yet, here I am, on my May vacation, in a city halfway between Izoard and Galibier. Well done Lora, you got fooled again.
Right away he drags me to Izoard on the first day of our »vacation«, and I am cursing him with words that I cannot even say because I am so out of breath, while he laughs at me like crazy. The next day the plan is – of course – Col du Galibier – THE climb of the Tour this year. What can I do, I just go.
I have tried to imagine how it will all look later, when these roads will change into gladiator arenas, fight for survival. The climbs have been there forever and the mountain is stronger than the man. And between the man and the mountain – there is always only road. The peaks that are not only names any more are nervous and the sun shines differently at 2700 meters.
When the valley starts closing from all sides I notice a sign that marks kilometers to the top. While also looking at some horses I almost fall over the bike when I see the number »30«. 30 kilometers to the top of Galibier. Great, absolutely great. Even though is stop constantly for random selfies with marmots, I know deep down I will never give up before the top.
Not caring about my mental fortitude the climb still seems infinite and when I ask myself for the hundreth time why am I even goin up there I finally meet my beloved snow, sun and Primož. He says that the top of the Galibier is closed, too much snow, be he went around and then down to the valley and up to Alpe d'Huez and back. Sometimes I ask myself if he is even normal… I drag myself up to Lautaret where the sun is shining and the sky is as blue as in a fairytale. And then down, the downhill is from stage 17, the kamikaze from Kisovec goes ahead, with such speed that I cannot even look at him. I hold my brakes so much that in the end I cannot even stop because my finger has a cramp.

If your brain is made the way that proves useful in the end, well then half is forgiven. And if you are doing it for the Tour, then the other half is forgiven as well. No one is counting all the intervals anymore, all the blisters on the balls, moments of hunger and sleepless nights with a cooked engine. No one on the other side of the fence cares about destroyed hips, metal screws in collarbones, stages where you cannot bluff, grim faces in the Dolomites or on Vršič pass, or under the Izoard. Because it is about the Tour. And the Tour decides who is worthy and who is not. All that matters is what color you bring to Paris. There are a lot of races. But Tour is the Tour. For some a wonderful portal to imortallity, for other a sinking ship, fot the viewers a special joy and for the French – who would know…

Now it is almost time. I am shaking off expectations and fear but looking forward to the unknown at the same time. No one knows what will happen and whatever happens will be okay. There is no romance in cycling, but there is a lesson – not to stop until you cross the finish line. How much blood do those guys on the startlist spit out every day…
At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win Maraton Alpe. Whenever we ride over Črnivec he talks to me about his first solo escape that was sucessful. He won that day. Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world. For a little Slovenian, who begged if he could become a cyclist five years ago, it is a really big thing.
And if I connect the conclusion to his previous sport and our legendary snow queen, Planica (ski jumping hill) where it all began and ended, you will definitely understand if I write: »No one can jump over 200, they yelled…«
 
I mean, the reason is probably not the UCI but the IOC.

Cycling has/had a very bad reputation within the IOC due to the rampant doping issues. Deservedly or not, compared to other sports, the general image of cycling was terrible. I remember talk about cycling possibly being dropped from the Olympics completely, and certainly compared to other sports (swimming for example, it's ridiculous one athlete even has the possibility to win 6 medals in one Olympics, even if he's the best of all time), the cycling programme at the Olympics has suffered over the years with the exception of introducing MTB/BMX and more women's events.

If it was just up to the UCI I think they would be happy to start more athletes in the TT, introduce cyclocross, bring back some traditional track disciplines, etc.
I agree that it is due tov IOC and impacts on overall athlete numbers .

Like you I think its farcical to include so many different ways to progress from one end of the swimming pool to the other which are not even different enough to stop one person winning 6-8 Gold medals in a single games.
 
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I don't think anybody is suggesting it is wrong that Belgium has two spots but instead just that it is a shame for fans of road cycling that we will be denied to see one of the superstars of the sport going for an Olympic medal due to the ridiculous one rider per country rule for all but a tiny number of nations.
I understand what you mean and i understood what she meant as well. But Belgium didn't "get" 2 spots. It had to earn the second spot. Any country was free to gun for that extra spot, also Slovenia. If you look at how both countries have performed at international championships (a benchmark for Olympics), then the question probably should have been "why does Belgium only get the same amount of spots as Slovenia"? I'm sure the Pog/Rog fans all want to see them both go to the Olympics for the ITT, but let's be real here, the country hasn't performed particularly well at international championships, and Pogacar so far has won one ITT in his professional career that wasn't the Slovenian National title.
This is how the Olympics work, lots of top athletes don't get to go because spots are limited. Some athletes even change nationality to take a spot that's ready for the taking. Olympics don't look at individual athletes and don't look at Pog and Rog and say, hey both of these guys should be at the Olympics, let's invite them. They grant spots to nations, and the nations decide who goes. If they did do that, and Roglic and/or Pogacar got injured in the Tour de France, then Slovenia could send two riders that have no place being at such an event instead.

So i understand the question why some nations get more spots than others, nothing wrong with that. But i don't understand why anyone would expect Slovenia to be one of those countries getting more spots, and i can not get my head wrapped around the comparison with Belgium considering the depth of the possible selection Belgium could bring of riders winning WT ITT's or medals in the past few years. Even if she didn't know Belgium doesn't get 2 spots.
 
Reactions: hayneplane and yaco
Since I remember some here enjoying the Interview translations (Carols especially) during the Tour last year I have tried another thing. I have found the article that Lora, Primož's girlfriend wrote before his first Tour in 2017 (where he ended up winning that Galibier stage). Obviously it was only written in Slovene but I always liked reading it and I wanted to give other people an opportunity to read it as well. The translation is mine so it might not be perfect at all times (especially since translating certain phrases is not always possible) but it is certaintly better than google translate. So here you go. Enjoy.

My boyfriend is going to take part in the Tour the France
Author: Lora Klinc, June 2017


At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win the Maraton Alpe, a recreative cycling event (in Slovenia). Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world.

I've always liked all that is French. Perhaps due to the fact that I am a bit of a Frenchwoman myself, my granny comes from a stony village Sospel above Menton, perhaps because I like the nonchalance and »je ne sais quoi«, or perhaps becuase of the cheese and wine. And Le Tour – I have known the names of mythical climbs already as a schoolgirl watching the fights of pink Ullrich and yellow Lance – Tour is France, more French than the stinkiest French cheese, Tour is like Eifell, barettes and fois gras mixed together. The French know how to live, spectacles and exagerations are written in their genes. How much enjoyement there is on the other side of the fence, I do not know, but since it is the race of all races, probably none what so ever. On one side of the fence, there will be me, on the other my Primož who will start his first Tour de France.

The thought that not so long ago seemed ridiculous now promises more an more. I can imagine that while there are still doubts, it is definitely not a story about a miracle. When someone says »It is not possible«, I could not care less anymore. If every day is like being on the edge of a miracle, then so be it. In the end I am the one who is counting the days without him. I got used to the fact that doping control knocking on the door replaced my alarm clock and that Christmas and Sundays do not exist. Everyone asks where he is and they don't understand why he is not always here. Filling up bidons is a routine, as is pretending to understand his stories about watts. You learn to respect and protect cyclists on the road, because you know that for someone else he could be »yours«. It is not just departures and airports, the definition of simple things is… simply different in the view of professional cycling.

This year is all about the Tour and Tour ahead of everything. Such a long race can be a problem even for a spectator, especially if my memory about the Giro d'Italia last year includes three weeks of digestion issues, heart rythm problems, trouble recognizing the right guy in the pack and downhills – downhills are horrible. He was on the ground five times in the Giro. The fifth time you run out of words to ease the wounds.

Last day with him on the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. The landscape barren, stone blocks sticking up into the air that is not there. Granada at the foot of the mountain is covered with fog due to the immense heat. I sit on the artificial grass in the middle of the athletic stadium at 2350 meters, hangover from the altitude, avoiding snakes, daily hikes at 3600m and 8 degree Celsius ice baths into which the psycho throws an aditional two bags of ice »Because it's good for the legs«.
It can't harm I think to myself as I immerse myself into the water – the shock that follows shows once again what a difference there is between a cyclist and a non-cyclist, serves me right, why am I even listening to him… the gentleman, whos head I would most dearly like to separate from his shoulders right now, is sitting in the ice water and explaining something about Titanic and the only sign of discomfort I notice is that he is slighlty holding the edge of the bath. I shake my head, wave my hand at him and leave, why the f*ck do I need to do that…
The stadium – I am in the middle and the only other person on it next to me is Primož. On the track, where normal people run, he is doing countless rounds on his TT bike. Even though I wave at him every time so much that I nearly dislocate my shoulder, he does not notice me. Hunched over his bars he just follows the white line and by now I am used to it, thinking, well maybe this is all completely normal. Him, alone with his goal.

Before he went to Sierra to the training camp we went for a vacation. To France. I have imagined myself sitting in the sun with a good croissant, a hat and some bad French coffee. In that moment of joy I have forgotten what vacation means in a pro-cyclists dictionary. I don't believe I have mentioned yet that I am definitely not a cyclist myself. A bike with thin tyres has been in my possesion for less than half a year and I have done about as much kilometers as a random recreational cyclist does in a single week. Not to mentions clipping in the shoes, the broken dreams of every cycling beginer. Yet, here I am, on my May vacation, in a city halfway between Izoard and Galibier. Well done Lora, you got fooled again.
Right away he drags me to Izoard on the first day of our »vacation«, and I am cursing him with words that I cannot even say because I am so out of breath, while he laughs at me like crazy. The next day the plan is – of course – Col du Galibier – THE climb of the Tour this year. What can I do, I just go.
I have tried to imagine how it will all look later, when these roads will change into gladiator arenas, fight for survival. The climbs have been there forever and the mountain is stronger than the man. And between the man and the mountain – there is always only road. The peaks that are not only names any more are nervous and the sun shines differently at 2700 meters.
When the valley starts closing from all sides I notice a sign that marks kilometers to the top. While also looking at some horses I almost fall over the bike when I see the number »30«. 30 kilometers to the top of Galibier. Great, absolutely great. Even though is stop constantly for random selfies with marmots, I know deep down I will never give up before the top.
Not caring about my mental fortitude the climb still seems infinite and when I ask myself for the hundreth time why am I even goin up there I finally meet my beloved snow, sun and Primož. He says that the top of the Galibier is closed, too much snow, be he went around and then down to the valley and up to Alpe d'Huez and back. Sometimes I ask myself if he is even normal… I drag myself up to Lautaret where the sun is shining and the sky is as blue as in a fairytale. And then down, the downhill is from stage 17, the kamikaze from Kisovec goes ahead, with such speed that I cannot even look at him. I hold my brakes so much that in the end I cannot even stop because my finger has a cramp.

If your brain is made the way that proves useful in the end, well then half is forgiven. And if you are doing it for the Tour, then the other half is forgiven as well. No one is counting all the intervals anymore, all the blisters on the balls, moments of hunger and sleepless nights with a cooked engine. No one on the other side of the fence cares about destroyed hips, metal screws in collarbones, stages where you cannot bluff, grim faces in the Dolomites or on Vršič pass, or under the Izoard. Because it is about the Tour. And the Tour decides who is worthy and who is not. All that matters is what color you bring to Paris. There are a lot of races. But Tour is the Tour. For some a wonderful portal to imortallity, for other a sinking ship, fot the viewers a special joy and for the French – who would know…

Now it is almost time. I am shaking off expectations and fear but looking forward to the unknown at the same time. No one knows what will happen and whatever happens will be okay. There is no romance in cycling, but there is a lesson – not to stop until you cross the finish line. How much blood do those guys on the startlist spit out every day…
At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win Maraton Alpe. Whenever we ride over Črnivec he talks to me about his first solo escape that was sucessful. He won that day. Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world. For a little Slovenian, who begged if he could become a cyclist five years ago, it is a really big thing.
And if I connect the conclusion to his previous sport and our legendary snow queen, Planica (ski jumping hill) where it all began and ended, you will definitely understand if I write: »No one can jump over 200, they yelled…«
I thought it's the one when Primož tells her he'll win the Galibier stage so tells her to wait for him after the finish line. That's probably in another article.

I still think that's nuts. Imagine being so certain of your capabilities to tell your girlfriend before the stage you'll win the queen stage of the Tour, while not even being known as a particulary good climber at the time. And he did it in style, while dropping Contador in the process. At that time I knew, he has the mentality of a champion.
 
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I thought it's the one when Primož tells her he'll win the Galibier stage so tells her to wait for him after the finish line. That's ptobably in another article.

I still think that's nuts. Imagine being so certain of your capabilities to tell your girlfriend before the stage you'll win the queen stage of the Tour, while not even being known as a particulary good climber at the time. And he did it in style, while dropping Contador in the process. At that time I knew, he has the mentality of a champion.
Tbh Contador trashed himself on the Croix de Fer briding to that group. He really shoudl've joined the breakaway first time aroudn.
 
I understand what you mean and i understood what she meant as well. But Belgium didn't "get" 2 spots. It had to earn the second spot. Any country was free to gun for that extra spot, also Slovenia. If you look at how both countries have performed at international championships (a benchmark for Olympics), then the question probably should have been "why does Belgium only get the same amount of spots as Slovenia"? I'm sure the Pog/Rog fans all want to see them both go to the Olympics for the ITT, but let's be real here, the country hasn't performed particularly well at international championships, and Pogacar so far has won one ITT in his professional career that wasn't the Slovenian National title.
This is how the Olympics work, lots of top athletes don't get to go because spots are limited. Some athletes even change nationality to take a spot that's ready for the taking. Olympics don't look at individual athletes and don't look at Pog and Rog and say, hey both of these guys should be at the Olympics, let's invite them. They grant spots to nations, and the nations decide who goes. If they did do that, and Roglic and/or Pogacar got injured in the Tour de France, then Slovenia could send two riders that have no place being at such an event instead.

So i understand the question why some nations get more spots than others, nothing wrong with that. But i don't understand why anyone would expect Slovenia to be one of those countries getting more spots, and i can not get my head wrapped around the comparison with Belgium considering the depth of the possible selection Belgium could bring of riders winning WT ITT's or medals in the past few years. Even if she didn't know Belgium doesn't get 2 spots.
It doesn't matter in the end. I think both Roglič and Pogačar are good evaluators of their own capabilities. I wouldn't be surprised at all, if they think they have no shot at a medal to give the only spot to Tratnik and not bother with the ITT at all. It's happened in the past.

On the other hand, if one of the two is at the start of the ITT, be sure it'll be because he believes he is good enough to get a medal. So even if there are Dennis, Ganna, van Aert, Remco, Cavagna, Bissegger... I think it wouldn't be wise to rule out Pogi /Rogla completely.

Edit:
The only problem might be if they both think they have a shot at a medal, but I'm pretty sure they'll make the correct choice at that moment.
 
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Tbh Contador trashed himself on the Croix de Fer briding to that group. He really shoudl've joined the breakaway first time aroudn.
True but that's not the main point I was trying to make. My main point was his belief in himself before the stage.

It was still impressive at the time to gap Contador for almost 2min and give even more time to all the other 20+ breakaway companions to remain the lone breakaway survivor.

From what we know now about him, that performance doesn't seem that special at all. But at the time he was known more as a good TT rider, who can defend himself on the climbs. Let's say a McNulty type of rider.
 
Reactions: Carols and Red Rick
True but that's not the main point I was trying to make. My main point was his belief in himself before the stage.

It was still impressive at the time to gap Contador for almost 2min and give even more time to all the other 20+ breakaway companions to remain the lone breakaway survivor.

From what we know now about him, that performance doesn't seem that special at all. But at the time he was known more as a good TT rider, who can defend himself on the climbs. Let's say a McNulty type of rider.
For me the real deal was when he beat Bernal in Romandie 2018. Hard route, big climbs, and he didn't get in trouble in the slightest vs Bernal.
 
For me the real deal was when he beat Bernal in Romandie 2018. Hard route, big climbs, and he didn't get in trouble in the slightest vs Bernal.
Yeah, that was when everybody noticed he is also one of the best climbers in the world. He didn't look in trouble, but I'm sure it wasn't easy at all. Those Bernal accelerations were crazy. Certainly everybody else looked in trouble, they were going double the speed than everybody else.

I also think that was almost peak Bernal (up to now). I know it'hard to compare one week races with GTs, but I've never seen him that sprightly on the climbs ever again, even if he won the Tour the next year. It'd be nice to have that Bernal back.
 
Since I remember some here enjoying the Interview translations (Carols especially) during the Tour last year I have tried another thing. I have found the article that Lora, Primož's girlfriend wrote before his first Tour in 2017 (where he ended up winning that Galibier stage). Obviously it was only written in Slovene but I always liked reading it and I wanted to give other people an opportunity to read it as well. The translation is mine so it might not be perfect at all times (especially since translating certain phrases is not always possible) but it is certaintly better than google translate. So here you go. Enjoy.

My boyfriend is going to take part in the Tour the France
Author: Lora Klinc, June 2017


At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win the Maraton Alpe, a recreative cycling event (in Slovenia). Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world.

I've always liked all that is French. Perhaps due to the fact that I am a bit of a Frenchwoman myself, my granny comes from a stony village Sospel above Menton, perhaps because I like the nonchalance and »je ne sais quoi«, or perhaps becuase of the cheese and wine. And Le Tour – I have known the names of mythical climbs already as a schoolgirl watching the fights of pink Ullrich and yellow Lance – Tour is France, more French than the stinkiest French cheese, Tour is like Eifell, barettes and fois gras mixed together. The French know how to live, spectacles and exagerations are written in their genes. How much enjoyement there is on the other side of the fence, I do not know, but since it is the race of all races, probably none what so ever. On one side of the fence, there will be me, on the other my Primož who will start his first Tour de France.

The thought that not so long ago seemed ridiculous now promises more an more. I can imagine that while there are still doubts, it is definitely not a story about a miracle. When someone says »It is not possible«, I could not care less anymore. If every day is like being on the edge of a miracle, then so be it. In the end I am the one who is counting the days without him. I got used to the fact that doping control knocking on the door replaced my alarm clock and that Christmas and Sundays do not exist. Everyone asks where he is and they don't understand why he is not always here. Filling up bidons is a routine, as is pretending to understand his stories about watts. You learn to respect and protect cyclists on the road, because you know that for someone else he could be »yours«. It is not just departures and airports, the definition of simple things is… simply different in the view of professional cycling.

This year is all about the Tour and Tour ahead of everything. Such a long race can be a problem even for a spectator, especially if my memory about the Giro d'Italia last year includes three weeks of digestion issues, heart rythm problems, trouble recognizing the right guy in the pack and downhills – downhills are horrible. He was on the ground five times in the Giro. The fifth time you run out of words to ease the wounds.

Last day with him on the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. The landscape barren, stone blocks sticking up into the air that is not there. Granada at the foot of the mountain is covered with fog due to the immense heat. I sit on the artificial grass in the middle of the athletic stadium at 2350 meters, hangover from the altitude, avoiding snakes, daily hikes at 3600m and 8 degree Celsius ice baths into which the psycho throws an aditional two bags of ice »Because it's good for the legs«.
It can't harm I think to myself as I immerse myself into the water – the shock that follows shows once again what a difference there is between a cyclist and a non-cyclist, serves me right, why am I even listening to him… the gentleman, whos head I would most dearly like to separate from his shoulders right now, is sitting in the ice water and explaining something about Titanic and the only sign of discomfort I notice is that he is slighlty holding the edge of the bath. I shake my head, wave my hand at him and leave, why the f*ck do I need to do that…
The stadium – I am in the middle and the only other person on it next to me is Primož. On the track, where normal people run, he is doing countless rounds on his TT bike. Even though I wave at him every time so much that I nearly dislocate my shoulder, he does not notice me. Hunched over his bars he just follows the white line and by now I am used to it, thinking, well maybe this is all completely normal. Him, alone with his goal.

Before he went to Sierra to the training camp we went for a vacation. To France. I have imagined myself sitting in the sun with a good croissant, a hat and some bad French coffee. In that moment of joy I have forgotten what vacation means in a pro-cyclists dictionary. I don't believe I have mentioned yet that I am definitely not a cyclist myself. A bike with thin tyres has been in my possesion for less than half a year and I have done about as much kilometers as a random recreational cyclist does in a single week. Not to mentions clipping in the shoes, the broken dreams of every cycling beginer. Yet, here I am, on my May vacation, in a city halfway between Izoard and Galibier. Well done Lora, you got fooled again.
Right away he drags me to Izoard on the first day of our »vacation«, and I am cursing him with words that I cannot even say because I am so out of breath, while he laughs at me like crazy. The next day the plan is – of course – Col du Galibier – THE climb of the Tour this year. What can I do, I just go.
I have tried to imagine how it will all look later, when these roads will change into gladiator arenas, fight for survival. The climbs have been there forever and the mountain is stronger than the man. And between the man and the mountain – there is always only road. The peaks that are not only names any more are nervous and the sun shines differently at 2700 meters.
When the valley starts closing from all sides I notice a sign that marks kilometers to the top. While also looking at some horses I almost fall over the bike when I see the number »30«. 30 kilometers to the top of Galibier. Great, absolutely great. Even though is stop constantly for random selfies with marmots, I know deep down I will never give up before the top.
Not caring about my mental fortitude the climb still seems infinite and when I ask myself for the hundreth time why am I even goin up there I finally meet my beloved snow, sun and Primož. He says that the top of the Galibier is closed, too much snow, be he went around and then down to the valley and up to Alpe d'Huez and back. Sometimes I ask myself if he is even normal… I drag myself up to Lautaret where the sun is shining and the sky is as blue as in a fairytale. And then down, the downhill is from stage 17, the kamikaze from Kisovec goes ahead, with such speed that I cannot even look at him. I hold my brakes so much that in the end I cannot even stop because my finger has a cramp.

If your brain is made the way that proves useful in the end, well then half is forgiven. And if you are doing it for the Tour, then the other half is forgiven as well. No one is counting all the intervals anymore, all the blisters on the balls, moments of hunger and sleepless nights with a cooked engine. No one on the other side of the fence cares about destroyed hips, metal screws in collarbones, stages where you cannot bluff, grim faces in the Dolomites or on Vršič pass, or under the Izoard. Because it is about the Tour. And the Tour decides who is worthy and who is not. All that matters is what color you bring to Paris. There are a lot of races. But Tour is the Tour. For some a wonderful portal to imortallity, for other a sinking ship, fot the viewers a special joy and for the French – who would know…

Now it is almost time. I am shaking off expectations and fear but looking forward to the unknown at the same time. No one knows what will happen and whatever happens will be okay. There is no romance in cycling, but there is a lesson – not to stop until you cross the finish line. How much blood do those guys on the startlist spit out every day…
At about the same time five years ago Primož wanted to win Maraton Alpe. Whenever we ride over Črnivec he talks to me about his first solo escape that was sucessful. He won that day. Now he is going to the Tour, the biggest race in the world. For a little Slovenian, who begged if he could become a cyclist five years ago, it is a really big thing.
And if I connect the conclusion to his previous sport and our legendary snow queen, Planica (ski jumping hill) where it all began and ended, you will definitely understand if I write: »No one can jump over 200, they yelled…«
Thank You so Much, I Really enjoyed this! That was a stunning article, so much emotion, and I laughed multiple times. I've never really heard the view of the non-cyclist love partner who thinks he is a wacko for doing these things but loves him regardless and even accepts his 'excuse' for a vacation. Marry that woman Primoz!
 
In reality i don't feel there is such a big problem involved. The only problem i guess would be if more of them would insist they want to get the TT spot. Then
Hauptman, making the final decision, that would likely come down to the current form and lets hope the decision won't be too hard to make.
 
How do you know
Tinnekeisabella
is a she?
I don't, but would it have been better if is said "he" without knowing? The account name consists of 2 girl's names, so since i had already pissed her off, i figured it couldn't get much worse anyway.

That is your opinion.

P.S. I don't share it.
He's a great TT'er in stage races, but i think in a standalone ITT, there will be 3 guys or more better.
 
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