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by Shane Stokes
April 6, 2018
Roglic wins TT at Itzulia Basque Country, grabs race lead; Pieters wins stage 2 of the Healthy Ageing; Tour; Martin wins stage 3 of the Circuit de la Sarthe; Dyball continues to lead in Thailand; Bevin goes close to success at Itzulia Basque Country; Sagan, Cavendish, Kittel, Ewan confirmed for Amgen Tour of California sprints; Australian team pursuit squad smash world record en route to Commonwealth Games gold; Women’s track team sweeps up two Commonwealth Games gold medals; Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio gives up Commonwealth Games slot; 3T updates Exploro with new Fango carbon gravel fork; Video: Sagan talks Roubaix chances; Marcus Burghardt speaks about muddy cobblestones
He previously had to play second fiddle to stage one and two winner Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors), but Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) grabbed the race lead with a solid time trial victory on Thursday’s stage four of the Itzulia Basque Country. The Slovenian rocketed around the 19.4 kilometre course in 22 minutes 26 seconds, overhauling longtime TT leader Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing Team) by nine seconds and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) by 11.
“I knew that all eyes were on me as a pursuer in the GC and as time trial specialist,” he said. “That provided extra pressure. It was a flat time trial, but there was a lot of wind. At the finish I saw that I had the fastest time, which made me very happy, of course.”
Alaphilippe did what he could but TTs are not his speciality. He finished eighth, 42 seconds back, and lost all of the advantage he had gained plus some more time. He is now 34 seconds adrift, with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) next best in third, one minute 33 seconds behind.
That puts Roglic in a strong position with two mountain stages remaining, although he knows the race is not won yet. “We should not get ahead of ourselves,” he said. “At the beginning of the course I already said that I want to take it one day at a time. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m really looking forward to the last stages.”
Alaphilippe said that the flat TT didn’t suit him, but that he will fight on. “I won’t hide the fact I’m a bit disappointed for not having the yellow jersey anymore. But the morale in the team is high, so we’ll try to do something nice in the next two stages, which will be very hard, the hardest of the race.”