The Tour’s two pre-race contenders will race stage 5’s rolling 27-kilometer ITT nursing a long list of bumps, bangs, and abrasions after they both fell heavily and lost time in the chaotic stage 3 on Monday.
- Roglič, Thomas both victims of crash-riddled stage 3
- Jumbo-Visma looking to limit the damage in stage 5 time trial
Roglič was near-mummified as he tapped through three-and-a-half hours in the peloton on Tuesday’s sprint stage. Even cruising in the bunch proved tough.
“It was a really difficult day for me today,” Roglič said after stage 4 Tuesday. “We have managed to get through the stage and that was our main goal today. And now we can take it day by day again and we will see how it goes.”
Cruising in the bunch proved uncomfortable enough. Roglič said he’s not hoping for much better when he contorts his way on the TT bike for a crucial stage out of Changé on Wednesday.
“I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow, considering today I am satisfied that I have managed to get to the finish today,” he said.
“Let’s say that I am happy that I am still at the race. And I will be happy with every kilometer on the bike and I will definitely give my best and we will see at the end where this will get me.”
Pushing power in the most uncomfortable of aero positions will make for a rough test of Roglič’s resilience Wednesday, and the stakes are high as he looks to reduce a one-minute deficit to his leading rivals.
Thomas is in a similar situation to his Slovenian rival. He fell early in stage 3 before losing a handful of seconds in the chaotic final sprint. Although Thomas’ injuries were less visible than Roglič’s bandages and bruises Tuesday, the Welshman said he was far from comfortable after having a dislocated shoulder yanked back into place at the side of the road in stage 3.
“It was better than I thought it would be but it’s just sore,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I got through it as best as I could … I feel worse now, to be honest. I’m looking forward to a massage.”
The tumultuous opening trio of stages has shaken up the Tour’s top contenders earlier than expected. Richard Carapaz is best placed, with Pogačar eight seconds back on him. Thomas is 36-seconds down on his Ecuadorian teammate, while Roglič has a hefty 1:04 to recover.
Pogačar has a lot to gain on the roads out of Changé on Wednesday. The defending champ and his big TT engine are well-placed to overturn the slim deficit to Carapaz in the undulating 27km Wednesday.
Contrastingly, Roglič and Thomas could lose a lot should injuries continue to nag as they settle into the stiff frame and suffocating position of their TT bikes. Jumbo-Visma is just hoping to limit the damage before the mountains arrive this weekend.
“We hope that Primoż will be able to a good time trial,” team boss Richard Plugge told VeloNews Tuesday. “Pogačar proved he’s the best time trialist in the world in last year’s Tour. He took a lot of time out of us, and we can expect he can take up to a minute and a half on us tomorrow.”
The physios and chiropractors will have had a busy night Tuesday.
Thomas and Roglič’s yellow jersey ambitions could be forged or foiled on the TT bike Wednesday.