Slovenian dominance tipped to continue at 2022 Grand Tour cycling events
In the competitive world of road bicycle racing, there are three headline events each year that attract huge interest. They are the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España, which are collectively known amongst fans as the Grand Tours, with all three races being of a similar format, taking place over three weeks each year and with daily stages.
As the most prominent events in the annual road bicycle racing circuit, these three races also have a special status within the UCI regulations. More points are awarded to competitors in the Grand Tour events, while they are also the only stage races that are allowed to last longer than 14 days.
Traditionally scheduled first is the Giro d’Italia, which is typically run in the month of May, followed by the Tour de France held in July, then the Vuelta a España towards the end of August and heading into September. Over the last few years, two Slovenian riders have risen to the fore, making their mark in the biggest races. Can their level of dominance continue in 2022?
When it comes to reaching the pinnacle of the road bicycle racing scene, Primoz Roglic is quite the late developer compared to many of his contemporaries. Originally dedicated to ski jumping, he actually won the Continental Cup twice in this winter sport. However, when he would not reach elite status in this particular sport, he decided to take up cycling in 2012.
Roglic was 22 when he first entered competitive cycling in 2012, then won his first professional in 2014 at the Tour d’Azerbaïjan. After joining the Jumbo-Visma team in 2016, Roglic enjoyed climb up the world rankings that was both phenomenal and constant. By 2019, he reached the number one spot in the UCI road racing world ranking, going on to hold that position for 75 weeks.
Major stage race wins for Roglic include the Tour of the Basque Country (2018,2021) and the Tour de Romandie (2018,2019), the Tirreno-Adriatico (2019), plus the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Monuments race (2020). He finished 3 at the 2019 Giro d’Italia in 2019, then fourth at the 2018 Tour de France and second in 2020. His greatest triumph in the Grand Tour events is at the Vuelta a España, having won each of the last three races.
In 2022, 32-year-old Roglic could become the first competitor to claim four consecutive Vuelta a España wins, although performing well at the 2022 Tour de France could be his priority, after finishing second behind fellow countryman Tadej Pogacar in 2020. Unfortunately, after the setback of a crash on Stage 3 at the 2021 Tour, according to cyclingweekly.com reports ahead of Stage 9, Roglic was too far behind the front-runners and opted to abandon the race.
Whenever talking about rising stars in any sport, more often than not, it’s incredibly difficult for aspiring hopefuls to match the pressure of expectation. Nevertheless, when it comes to the credentials of 23-year-old Tadej Pogacar, his aspirations were matched by outstanding cycling abilities from a very early age.
Impressive in both national and international junior championships, Pogacar turned professional as an under-23 rider with the Rog Ljubljana team in 2017, enjoying notable race wins. In 2019 he joined UAE Team Emirates, which marked the explosion of his career on the UCI World Tour circuit, including a third-place finish at the Vuelta a España.
2020 marked the breakthrough for Pogacar, when he defied all the odds to win his first Tour de France title, finishing just ahead of pre-race favourite and fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic. Going on to prove that wasn’t a one-time deal, Pogacar then dominated the 2021 Tour de France, topping the General Classification for the second year in a row.
Ahead of the 2022 Tour de France, inevitably, Pogacar is now tipped as the outright favourite with the majority of leading sportsbooks. Cutting through the noise of the online betting world, SBO.net provides honest betting site reviews for all the top bookmakers, ranking each for their value offered in sports betting markets. They also provide advice from pro tipsters, with Pogacar tipped to continue his excellent Tour de France form.
Heading into the 2022 schedule, all eyes will undoubtedly be on the superb Slovenian duo, given that both Promoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar are expected to dominate again. They will be the two key riders to watch, as competitors aspire to beat them at the upcoming Grand Tour events next year. Whoever you’re backing, it certainly promises to be another exciting year of professional road bicycle racing.