As Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) moved away from his rivals and donned the leader’s jersey, Roglič simply struggled to complete the 150.8 kilometer stage, battling the pain of his injuries in Stage 3 as much. than the alpine slopes.Roglič rode in a small group at the back of the race for much of the stage with Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), also injured and in pain, after being left behind in the uncategorized climb of Oyonnax.
They fought despite the climbs and the challenge ahead, to finish behind the gruppetto, around 35:01 after Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) won the stage and 34:17 behind the rampant Pogačar. They did it in the shortened time of a few minutes.
Seconds after crossing the finish line on Friday, Roglič found the time and energy to give a roadside fan a bottle, and on Saturday he stopped to talk to Slovenian friends after the finish line and waved to the crowd who applauded him as he made his way to the Jumbo-Visma team bus. He shows his humanity even in times of defeat.
Roglič’s overall hopes are lost for another year, and now he and Jumbo-Visma must decide whether it is worth staying on the Tour in the hopes of recovering from his injuries and aiming for a victory of step, or to give up to heal his wounds and recover for the Olympic Games of Tokyo and a possible defense of his crown of the Vuelta a España.
“We are dead but we are not buried. We have to look for opportunities and see what opportunities we have, ”said team manager Merijn Zeeman. Cyclismenews.
With Pogacar’s race preventing Wout van Aert from taking the yellow jersey from cyclo-cross rival Mathieu van der Poel (Alepcin-Fenix), Jumbo-Visma has a lot to think about as they prepare for the second mountain stage in the Alps, then the second week through the south of France which passes through Mont Ventoux and into the Pyrenees.
Van Aert fought valiantly to limit his loss of time against Pogacar and is very close to second in the overall standings, but also a distant lead of 1:48, giving him no realistic chance to take the lead. of the race.
The Belgian will likely try to survive on the climb to Tignes on Sunday, then fight for stage wins in the expected sprints in Valence, Nimes and Carcassonne. The final time trial around the Bordeaux vineyards could also be a goal if Pogacar fades away and focuses on winning the overall standings.
Jumbo-Visma has gotten used to the ups and downs of Rogličs Grand Tour races and will be working on a new racing strategy with the riders they have available.
American Sepp Kuss confirmed Cyclismenews that he will perhaps have the freedom to aim for stage victories in the mountains, while Jonas Vingegaard will become the new protected rider of Jumbo-Visma and the best hope of the general classification.
“Of course I have to try to do something. Hopefully I will feel a little better in the next few days, but I’ll try to do what I can, ”said Kuss, who attempted to participate in a breakaway. “It was a tough day. It was a difficult start and a bit crazy but exciting too.
“I haven’t seen Primož yet, but he was in pain. He just wants to move on to the next day and see how he feels. Now we need to focus on other goals as a team.
Vingegaard crashed during the stage but recovered and finished 10th, 3:25 behind Pogacar, but close to many other riders who will likely emerge to fight for podium places in this year’s Tour de France.
This is the 24-year-old’s first Tour de France, but he has impressed so far in three seasons at Jumbo-Visma.
He finished second at Itzulia Basque Country, won a 2021 UAE Tour stage on the Jebel Jais climb and was third in the Laval time trial on Wednesday. He is now fifth overall in the group of 13 riders at five minutes and is fighting for the podium and the top five places.
Jumbo-Visma does not want to burden him with responsibilities and expectations but he has a career change opportunity ahead of him between Tignes and Paris.
Vingegaard helped Roglič win last year’s Vuelta and Jumbo-Visma sees him as a driver of the future. Roglič’s accident accelerated his career on the Grand Tour.
“Jonas can definitely aim for a good ranking. But we’ve been on the road for a week now. Now we’ll see how the other riders in the standings behave and how Jonas relates to these guys. Maybe ten is better than him, ”Zeeman said.
“Of course we believe in him for the future and he can be a really good GC pilot in the future, so we’ll see what happens without putting pressure on him. “