Primož Roglič’s revenge Tour

In the Alps, Primož Roglič bent the Tour de France to his will.

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Ever since he graciously accepted defeat atop La Planche des Belles Filles two years ago, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) has been out for revenge.

Not against his compatriot Tadej Pogačar, but against the Tour de France.

The Tour takes no prisoners. The mountains are tough, the stages are fast. There’s even a cameraman on a motorbike to film you in your worst moment, as you ignominiously drop away and the race goes off without you.

At the team presentation back in Copenhagen, Roglič jokingly bowed to pressure from the crowd and declared his Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard the team leader in front of the Dane’s home fans.

But the morning before the first big mountain day of this Tour, Roglič, having lost time in the general classification already, folded his hand in the hope that he would finally see a Jumbo-Visma logo plastered onto a yellow jersey.

Roglič worked in tandem with Vingegaard, peppering the yellow jersey with attacks, forcing Pogačar to chase back on. Maybe, finally, his inexperience was showing. Why not let Roglič up the road?

Yet it was working, and Roglič dug deep before dropping off, and although over the Galibier Pogačar and Vingegaard were together, the proof of Roglič’s efforts would be seen on the climb to the summit finish. Roglič’s younger teammate put minutes into the man who usurped Roglič on the eve of what was supposed to be his Tour de France victory in 2020.

Roglič might never wear yellow again, let alone take it to Paris. Vingegaard’s victory atop the Col du Granon saw him emerge as Jumbo-Visma’s unrivalled GC leader. Yet there seemed to be some satisfaction that finally, he had played a part in bending the race to his will after it seemed too unruly a beast for him to tame.

“I mean, yes, it went even better,” Roglič said of how the outcome of stage 11 had eclipsed what Jumbo-Visma had hoped to achieve. “Incredibly good team performance, crazy good to see Jonas in yellow.”

Did he sense weakness in Pogačar?

“Yeah I mean, I went full and you never know but I really had nothing to lose,” Roglič added on his all-in performance. “In the end Jonas was by far the strongest and he won.”

After the stage the riders descended back down the final climb to their buses. Roglič couldn’t find his, instead circling a roundabout, lost equidistant between the Galibier and the Col du Granon.

Over the next few weeks Roglič may not be wearing yellow in Jumbo-Visma’s bid for Tour glory, but he will play as important a part as he did two years ago when facing the might of his younger compatriot Tadej Pogačar.

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