Primož Roglič says he is happy to not only have proven he can compete for victories in one-day races over the past week in Italy, but also that he has emerged from the 2019 season as the number one ranked rider in the world.
The Jumbo-Visma rider’s lead in the UCI World Ranking is now insurmountable, after a week of good results and having overtaken Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) following his maiden Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a España.
Roglič extended his lead in the rankings with victories in the Giro dell’Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine, signing off what he calls his “most successful” season to date with his first ever one-day race victories.
“We were very motivated to win here [in Italy] and we showed that,” Roglič said. “When I’m in shape and up to speed, it’s hard to beat me. I can look back on a good season and I am happy that I was able to finish this season with a victory. The fact that I am the rider with the most UCI victories this season is nice, even if they are just statistics.
After finishing seventh in Il Lombardia, a race he was one of the favourites for, Roglič admitted Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) was the best rider on the day, although infighting in the chase group did cost him.
“As the saying goes: when two dogs fight over a bone, a third runs away with it,” Roglič said. “The other guys mainly looked at me to chase, but Bauke was the best out there today and deserved the win.”
The Slovenian began his season in February, sealing the general classification in the UAE Tour before also claiming the overall victories at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie.
His first Grand Tour of the season was the Giro d’Italia, which Roglič started in imperious form with a dominant opening time trial performance. He held the maglia rosa for the first five days, before picking up another time trial victory on stage nine, but then faltered in the third week as Movistar’s Richard Carapaz took the win.
However, the 29-year-old returned with a vengeance at the Vuelta a España, winning the stage 10 Pau time trial to put himself in the leader’s jersey and not relinquishing it all the way to Madrid.
Next year he will face stiff competition for top billing at Grand Tours with Tom Dumoulin joining the team from Sunweb, while Steven Kruijswijk’s third place finish at the Tour de France ensured his name will remain in the conversation at team selection meetings.
The unconfirmed and not yet final UCI World Ranking’s show Roglič finishing ahead of Alaphilippe, with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) narrowly pipping Egan Bernal (Ineos) to third place.
UCI World Rankings (13/10/2019)
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma – 4635.3 pts
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 3595 pts
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana – 3472.5 pts
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos – 3346.8 pts
5. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar – 3297 pts
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC – 2947.3 pts
7. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe – 2489 pts
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates – 2484.5 pts
9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 2342.1 pts
10. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe – 2232 pts