It seemed like an almost classic Primož Roglič moment. The oh no, not again kind.
Halfway through the stage 20 time trial, momentum was finally on his side. He’d already clawed back 15 seconds of his 26 second deficit to Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). It appeared Roglic was on a fantastic day and would win the Giro d’Italia on this 18.6km test up to Monte Lussari.
But this is Primoz Roglic. Nothing can be easy or straingforward. Nothing can be taken for granted.
He’d already crashed hard twice in the race and had finally recovered just in time. He was about to steal the Giro on the last day before Rome on a mountainside crowded with Slovenian fans who’d come from just over the border.
Except, maybe not.
Crossing over a rut, he drops his chain and comes to an abrupt halt. Disaster has struck just as it always seems to stike him. A Jumbo Visma mechanic brings up a spare bike as the clock ticked away. Roglic calmly pops the chain back on and gets a big push off.
But he has lost momentum and crucial seconds to Thomas. It’s just another unfortunate event for a rider who specializes in heartbreak and bad luck. Like when he lost the 2020 Tour de France in a mountain time trial on La Planche des Belle Filles, the day before Paris.
This time around, he was able to regather himself and continue to cut into his deficit. Thomas was beginning to fade and by the final 1.5 kilometers his legs just didn’t have the power. He’s 37 and the deisel engine could do no more.
Roglic crossed the line 40 seconds ahead of Thomas, which put him in the maglia rosa by 14 seconds. Only the ceremonial sprint stage in Rome remains, so barring any misfortune — and with Roglic one never knows — he will win his first Giro d’Italia to go with his three Vuelta a Espana titles.
You could argue that it was the thousands of Slovenian fans who put him over the top. “I had the legs and I had the people,” said Roglic. “They gave me extra watts.” The normally stoic rider was emotional after the stage, sharing it with fans and teammates. After three weeks of extreme self- control, he could finally let himself go.
“I wanted to make the people here and all the fans around the world proud. That was my main goal today. Hopefully, I was able to do that. I am super proud and happy. We put all our energy into this fight and enjoyed every metre. It’s special that it all came together in this beautiful place, he said. “It feels like home to me. I spent my whole childhood just a stone’s throw from here.”
Yes, he’d dropped his chain but he didn’t drop his chance to win the Giro.