Toyko Olympics: Primož Roglič romps to time trial gold
Roglič betters a stellar field by more than one minute. Tom Dumoulin soars to silver in much-anticipated TT return, and Rohan Dennis seals bronze.
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Primož Roglič steam-rolled his way through the Olympic time trial to score a redemptive gold medal Wednesday.
The Slovenian crushed a heavyweight field, bettering podium finishers Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) and Rohan Dennis (Australia) by more than one minute on the long, hilly Fuji Speedway course.
American duo Lawson Craddock and Brandon McNulty both finished outside the top-20.
The result sees Roglič hitting a high in what’s been a rollercoaster season.
Roglič lost his grip on overall victory at Paris-Nice due to crashes before clocking a series of strong rides in spring. He was then forced to abandon the Tour de France after just one week of racing, and failed to factor at this weekend’s road race due to cramps.
Roglič is expected to race the Vuelta a España to defend his title next month.
It’s #gold for @rogla of #SLO in the #CyclingRoad men’s individual time trial!#StrongerTogether | #Tokyo2020 | @UCI_cycling pic.twitter.com/5oxEqmobV8
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 28, 2021
Heat and humidity take toll
The searing heat, high humidity, and long, lumpy course saw riders struggling with dehydration and cramps. Riders were seen in cooling suits as they prepared to race with some taking bidons on the bike or receiving hand-ups from staffers along the route.
At 44-kilometers in length and littered with tough rises, pacing was everything in a race that favored both power and aerodynamics.
The Canadian Hugo Houle set the first benchmark, although it wasn’t expected to last through to the finish.
Remco Evenepoel was the first to unseat Houle after his early start and looked to have set a stellar time before a blazing performance from Rigoberto Urán (Colombia) promptly pushed the Belgian out of the top slot.
As expected, the race for the medals came down to the late-starters.
Filippo Ganna (Italy), Wout van Aert (Belgium), Rohan Dennis (Australia), Primoz Roglič (Slovenia), and Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) all started close to each other and the quintet all tore through the fastest time splits set by Urán.
Roglič had set the fastest time after the first of his two laps, but the chasing four were just 10 seconds back. The Slovenian turned on the after-burners through the back half of the race, expanding his advantage as van Aert and Ganna both began to struggle.
Dumoulin crushed his second lap to set what was briefly the fastest time at the finish, only for Roglič to come blazing to the line shortly afterward, as he clocked his gold medal effort.
Van Aert suffered in the final 10km and slid back to 6th at the finish. World TT champion Ganna also struggled in the back-half and dropped back to fifth. Stefan Küng (Switzerland) rode a strong negative split to accelerate through the course, finishing fourth and missed a medal by a split-second.
U.S. national champ Craddock had a tough day in the saddle. The Texan was off early and lost more than one minute on the initial mark set by Houle after halfway and never recovered from there, finishing 34th.
McNulty suffered a similarly tough opening lap after his stellar ride at this weekend’s road race. The 24-year-old looked off his best after a massive ride Saturday to finish 24th.
Results will be available once stage has completed.