Primož, you are a living proof that a sportsman with a real sporting mindset does not have to only excel at one sport – meant in a professional setting, of course. You started your athletic career as a promising ski jumper and achieved excellent results both in continental competitions as well as the world youth championships. You had an unfortunate fall that made you decide to stop your professional ski jumping career. You discovered cycling and cycling discovered you.
- What would you say about who did the discovering; did you discover cycling or did cycling discover you? Or maybe, the "chemistry" was mutual?
I would say that it was definitely me who "discovered" cycling, if we can put it like that. I bought a bike and started cycling, and then it started growing on me. At first, I just rode the bicycle the way I thought you were supposed to; I did not know anything anyway. But as time went by, cycling became more and more familiar.
- You started your cycling career in the Adria Mobil Cycling Club, which initially offered you a safe haven where you learned a lot, and then, when the moment was right, the club also provided you with a stepping stone to the international stage. How do you see your early years at the club? Do you like returning to the club and sharing your experience with the other members?
Yes, Adria Mobil gave me my first chance. It was a great honour for me, as it is still the best cycling club in Slovenia. At first, I just wanted to cycle, I did not dare think that it could one day become my job. I definitely enjoy coming back to the club; we have maintained good relations and friendships. We still cooperate and help one another out. This year, the Adria Mobil Cycling Club also awarded me the title of an honorary member, for which I am extremely proud and grateful.
- We are delighted with your success, and we want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on reaching for the top on a global scale in a relatively short time after having taken up a new sport. When you were briefly caught on camera during the final preparations before the start of the last stage of the 25th Tour of Slovenia, you appeared very concentrated and completely "in your own world", so much so that you did not even notice the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, who happened to be looking your way. Can you describe how you feel before the start of the race? Do you think about the race, the turns, the climbs and descents that are waiting for you, how to start and where to start peddling "to the max", or do you simply put your mind at ease and try to relax?
First of all, thank you very much for your congratulations. Before the race, I'm mostly focused on the plan that the team and I work out in advance. It is important to pay attention to everything on the road, such as turns, climbs and descents, as well as other obstacles like road signs, manhole covers, traffic islands. We have to be extremely focused at all times, because there are always a great deal of things that you cannot foresee; the speeds are high, and in the peloton, the riders are in close proximity to one another, and we have to pay attention to one another to avoid contact and accidents. It is certainly wise to pace yourselves correctly, so that you can carry out everything according to plan. Relaxing is important too, but being a little bit nervous and apprehensive is always welcome. Every sport requires a certain amount of respect.
- Your exceptional performance at the Tour de France, where we all cheered for you and were with you in our thoughts, finally gave you the confirmation that you are at the very top of the cycling world. During the preparations for this difficult cycling experience, you also used an Adria motorhome. How would you describe the experience? Was it a true HOME on WHEELS?
As a professional cyclist, I have to travel a great deal and constantly change hotels, day by day, so the home on wheels is very welcome. Actually, it is perfect for my way of life; it saves me a lot of energy. I do not need to carry around luggage and bicycles every day, and then take the car to get to the hotel. My favourite item is the bed; cyclists are usually very tired after training and racing, and the first thing you really want is to rest. Using a motorhome means I always have a bed within reach.
- Autumn and winter will be followed by another busy season. Are you now going to treat yourself to a little getaway, away from cycling, or is the bike a compulsory piece of equipment even on holiday?
Before I start thinking about the new season, I'm first going to think about a holiday. Although a period without a bicycle does indeed exist, it's a very short one for those of us who want to maintain the optimal level of readiness. In fact, we are away from home and on the go all year round; we are always on the road, so for my next short break, I will probably choose a place that does not require too much effort in terms of travelling. When you are away from home for most of the year, having time off actually means being able to spend a few days at home or somewhere nearby. In that case, I only use the bike to get some ice cream.
- This question might be a bit premature, but what are your expectations and your wishes for the coming season?
I definitely want to improve. Gather the pieces, add, correct, so that I can eventually get a perfect picture, a mosaic. In cycling, wishing is very difficult to define in the form of a specific result, but you can strive to make things better. I believe that if you do your job well, you will be rewarded sooner or later.
Primož, thank you very much for your time and your answers. We hope that we will be able to chat with you again at the earliest opportunity – probably just before an important race in the coming season. Good luck!