Primož Roglič and the Power of Second Chances
June 23, 2021 10:42 AM   Subscribe

A profile of champion cyclist Primož Roglič who “used to be nobody—a failed ski jumper, a college dropout, a janitor, a dreamer,” written by former internet phenom and architecture critic Kate Wagner: “I’m in this process of changing careers. I write mostly about architecture and design, but I started to get tired of it. Once I discovered writing about cycling, I was like, ‘Whoa, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ I guess I’m kind of in the process of quitting ski jumping of my own right now.”
posted by stopgap (13 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Two things I have several fucks to give about are cycle-racing and architecture. Woot! Thanks for the post! Roglic's story marvelously not that uncommon in cycling. The Canadian Michael Woods also jumped from one sport to another, from some success to greater success. So looking forward to this year's Tour!
posted by kneecapped at 11:47 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]


The Canadian Michael Woods also jumped from one sport to another, from some success to greater success.

see also: Eric Heiden
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:51 AM on June 23


Peter Sagan also famously won a race on his sister's mountain bike in tennis shoes while he was waiting for a new road bike. Cycling requires a lot of different things like access to resources, "grit" and strategic ability, but all of these people have won the genetic Powerball too.

The peloton is full of stories, but this one was particularly delightful.
posted by klanawa at 12:05 PM on June 23


She also wrote a multiple-part longform piece on the 2020 men’s world championships. It was glorious.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:11 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


The author's longform story of the 2020 UCI championship has an interesting disclaimer as "creative nonfiction", and the writing is very engaging. And this story? A good profile of Roglic, but I'd prefer to do without her personal angst over the interview.
This part-- I wanted to put an end to the hypermasculine narrative of the legendary hardman and replace it with a more emotionally complex one, a sincere one, one that wasn’t so replete with the tired stereotypes of cycling born from a desire to see men as strong and dominating above all else. -- I've followed pro cycling for a while and didn't see much of this stereotype or narrative. but anyone who knows competitive cycling knows its about suffering and endurance, for men or for women.
posted by TDIpod at 12:47 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


it might be a distinctly American view (and of the 90s/2000s era specifically) to see men in cycling as strong and dominating above all else. I mean wasn't that kind of Lance Armstrong's whole thing?
posted by One Thousand and One at 2:11 PM on June 23


I'd prefer to do without her personal angst over the interview.

Ordinarily I'd prefer a less gonzo approach too, but I feel like it works for an audience more familiar with her architecture and design writing. If she sticks with this though, I doubt that this style would still work for day-to-day sports journalism.
posted by stopgap at 2:59 PM on June 23


A short time ago she was begging on Twitter for someone to sponsor her to go see the TDF. And it all started because someone gave her a time trial bike not all that long ago, which sort of got her into cycling stuff. Good writers can make anything interesting. She got me into architecture and now she's dragging me into cycling. I think she's amazing. Just willing this all to happen.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 3:43 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Her "personal angst" is necessary to this particular piece; it not only is what drove her to get more out of Roglic where others had not, it serves as a purposeful narrative structure. Also, as much as she was successful in drawing out his story, this would be pretty thin without that parallel theme she weaves through both her and her subject's narrative. It's a real shame people's preconceived notions of what a profile or sports article should be are limiting their ability to appreciate it as a good bit of writing, however you want to categorize it. I don't see this the same at all as a celebrity profile where the author shares their internal agony about what to order for lunch.

Besides, she's been writing for derailleur.net (a substack project) for a little while now, and if you click through to one of the stories (I picked a Giro stage recap) the word "I" doesn't appear a single time. But she couldn't possibly know what she was doing so yes let's make sure the little lady knows about the rules of journalism. [insert eyeroll emoji]
posted by misskaz at 3:58 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I've followed pro cycling for a while and didn't see much of this stereotype or narrative. but anyone who knows competitive cycling knows its about suffering and endurance, for men or for women.

Odd thing to say about a sport that, to this day, venerates select legendary hardmen (see, e.g., Coppi, Hinault, Mercx, Kelly, Boonen, etc.) above all others.

Anyway, this is not a turn I ever expected from the force behind McMansion Hell but what a great article; I've finally been induced to subscribe to a SubStack.
posted by sinfony at 8:53 AM on June 24


What a great article. Professional cycling is the only sport I've ever cared about, but have been kind of out of it for a couple of years. I've subscribed to GCN+ to follow the Tour this year and found they have a whole bunch of documentaries and other content as well. And now I have a substack to subscribe to, also a first for me!
I do wonder if bicycle racing will crawl out of the whole it's dug for itself, with years of scandal, indefensible gender inequity, and a fickle public distracted by the allure of dusty adventures after a year of lockdown. I hope so, but it will be an epic hors categoire uphill battle.
posted by St. Oops at 11:38 PM on June 24


She also wrote a multiple-part longform piece on the 2020 men’s world championships.

Just starting this and getting serious vibes of Barthes's "The Tour de France as Epic" (the actual text eludes me, link is to an article.)
posted by St. Oops at 2:41 AM on June 26


It'll be interesting to see how the massive Stage 1 crash affects the rest of this year's Tour. Roglič walked away with trivial injuries, but some of his teammates were hurt worse.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:05 PM on June 26


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