Primož Roglič regained Olympic gold in the ashes of the yellow Tour de France on Wednesday.
After suffering another huge disappointment on this month’s Tour in what has been a disaster-marred career, Roglič found sweet redemption with a huge ride on the Tokyo track, blasting the world’s best in The rear view mirror.
Roglič saw his all-or-nothing bid for the Tour yellow jersey fail this summer. Wednesday’s Olympic victory was such an opportune result that even the sometimes stoic Slovenian could savor it.
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“It’s super cool. It’s beautiful, this stuff is quite heavy actually. I didn’t know it, ”he joked after receiving his medal.
Roglič hurtled down the starting ramp in the middle of a who’s-who of TT specialists on Wednesday, but rocked them all, setting the fastest time on the first of the two circuits and increasing the margin to over a minute until the final.
Roglič didn’t slow down when he crossed the finish line – as if to make sure nothing was going wrong.
– UCI (@UCI_cycling) July 28, 2021
“It’s super hard [to keep calm] when things don’t go your way, ”he said after his ride. “In the end, I worked hard and I always try to keep believing it’s always me, it’s Primož, and anything is still possible every day.
“I went out and had nothing to lose. I started all the way from kilometer zero and managed to get to the finish. It was my job and I did it well. In the end, it was pretty good.
Roglič’s summer seemed to be in tatters a little over three weeks ago.
After disappearing from sight in late spring with a risky race-free approach to the Tour, the stakes couldn’t have been higher when he lined up for Brittany Great departure.
Read also : Roglic’s high-risk construction for the Tour de France
Last year Roglič lost the yellow jersey on the very last day of racing. This year he tore up the script and spared no effort as he prepared for France in great detail.
When Roglič crashed into stage three and retired six days later, it was just another misfortune in a long series of disappointments. The 31-year-old had already seen this year’s Paris-Nice and last summer’s Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour swept under his feet due to accidents or crises.
Each backhand is a setup for a comeback 🙌
– UCI (@UCI_cycling) July 28, 2021
Roglič promised he would bounce back for the Olympics when he ended this summer’s tour. He did it and then some with his landslide win on Wednesday.
“It’s just incredibly pleasant after all the difficult things that have happened to me in the last few moments,” he said. “It paid off for all the work we did on my side, on the side of the family and the people around me. Today I managed to win the gold medal and become an Olympic champion.
Does an Olympic gold medal compensate for a missed yellow jersey?
That’s a tough question to answer anyone, and Roglič wasn’t going to give his opinion either.
“In cycling it’s stupid to compare things. Everything is super difficult to win. Even your home run behind your house, ”he said. “Every achievement is special, and this one is super special and I’m really happy. “
Roglič will look to defend his Vuelta a España title for the second year in a row next month in what could be a match against Pogacar and Giro d’Italia champion Egan Bernal. Spain will be painted in spectacular gold, pink and yellow.
Out of the shadow of Pogacar
Roglič’s redemptive race sees him emerge from the growing shadow of his compatriot and winner of the Pogacar Tower.
The Tour was presented as a two-man match between the Slovenian supremos. When Roglič crashed and Pogacar flattened the pitch, the Jumbo-Visma ace was quickly forgotten.
Much like Roglič’s usurpation in the last Tour 2020, Pogačar made headlines in Slovenia and around the world. Second place could have been nowhere.
The post-Tour Pogacar hype has not abated this weekend. Pogacar took bronze in Saturday’s road race while Roglič did not participate following a cramp.
The divergent trajectories have left many wondering why Pogačar did not secure the only available spot for Slovenia in Wednesday’s Olympic tests.
Roglič responded very loudly.
We couldn’t be more proud of @rogla, a Slovenian sport prodigy and a unique sport phenomenon! @TeamSlovenia @kolesarskazveza #ifeelslovenie #teamslovenia #tokyo2020 #imamoto #imamozlato #Olympic Games #bicycle route pic.twitter.com/sZdbnGz3r7
– Smell Slovenia (@SloveniaInfo) July 28, 2021