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Visma-Lease a Bike sports director, Merijn Zeeman, has set out what he saw as an increasingly difficult issue for Primož Roglič at the team

While team boss Richard Plugge said Primož Roglič had been the “king” of Jumbo Visma, another key management figure has suggested the ground was shifting underneath the Slovenian.

Merijn Zeeman has now said, in an interview, while Roglič initially took pride in helping Jonas Vingegaard emerge as a world class rider in the team in recent seasons, once the Dane began achieving big wins, it became much harder for Roglič to witness.

The comments are the latest made by Zeeman about Roglič since he left for Bora-hansgrohe as he previously stated Roglič found it very hard to accept the team would ride for Sepp Kuss to help him win La Vuelta late last season.

Speaking to the In The Wheel podcast, Zeeman said “something changed” for Roglič when Vingegaard really broke through, including winning the Tour de France.

“I have had many conversations with Primož in recent years,” Zeeman said. “When Jonas really broke through, something changed for Primož.

“On the one hand, he really liked it and was extremely proud of the development of the team. But on the other hand, he gets a lot of motivation from winning himself.

“So I felt that it was becoming increasingly difficult for Primož. But I also didn’t want to just let him go, because he was extremely important to us.”

Zeeman also conceded that racing against Roglič would be very difficult and his leadership at Bora-hansgrohe meant Visma-Lease a Bike would lose some races to him.

“I know that Jonas can beat anyone, but also that Primož will beat us very often. He is almost impossible to beat on some finishes,” he said.

Zeeman has previously said Roglič had a “difficult time” accepting the team should ride for Sepp Kuss to win last season’s Vuelta. He said after Roglič and Vingegaard dropped Kuss on the stage 17 finish on the Angliru, Roglič wanted to keep trying to win the race himself.

“I got eight grown men together and said, ‘guys, this is what happened today. I have my thoughts on this, but I think it’s much more important what you think’,” Zeeman said. “What do we stand for now? Who are we actually?

“Seven riders agreed that (Kuss claiming overall victory) must be the final result. Primož had a more difficult time with this, but he agreed to it. That was also because his team mates indicated it so forcefully. In the end he said, ‘Sepp has to win and you can count on me.’”

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