Primož Roglič on Tour de France injuries: Every seated pedal stroke is like a knife in the back
Jumbo-Visma 'satisfied' with Planche des Belles Filles result with 'a lot of climbs to go' before Paris.
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PLANCHER-LES-MINES, France (VN) — Primož Roglič struggled to dismount when he returned to his Jumbo-Visma team bus after finishing third on the Planche des Belle Filles in the Tour de France’s stage 7.
Despite the strong result, which saw him finish 12 seconds back on the stage winner Tadej Pogačar, the Slovenian rider is still suffering after crashing heavily in the final 30 kilometers of Wednesday’s cobbled stage.
Roglič dislocated his shoulder in the incident two days ago, but it is his back that is giving him the most trouble and making it hard for him to ride while seated.
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“If you imagine, every pedal stroke I do seated is like a knife in the back. The main goal now is to go through the stages and try to recover,” Roglič said with a wry smile.
In spite of his injury troubles, Roglič looked strong throughout stage 7 from Tomblaine to Planche des Belles Filles. He stayed glued to the wheel of his compatriot, Pogačar for much of the final kilometers, only cracking when the gradients peaked at over 20 percent in the last meters before the line.
“It was steep, huh, I really had a problem to get to the top in the last 200 meters,” Roglič said.
Roglič did gain time on some of his rivals, and he jumped from 28th to 13th, as many riders slipped down the GC standings on the first summit finish of the race. He currently sits just 35 seconds off the top-10 and he’s hoping to push through the coming stages and put his injury woes behind him as the race progresses.
“It was nice, I’m super happy to finish one more,” he said. “I’m definitely super happy about it. From my experience, you never know what to expect in the next days. You have to take it day-by-day and try to recover for the next ones.”
Given his injury struggles, few expected Roglič to be battling it out right at the front of the group of favorites so soon. For his team, it’s not unexpected to see him pushing through the pain, but to see him dropping all but two of the top climbers was far more than many anticipated.
“Yes and no,” team manager Richard Plugge said when asked if he was surprised by Roglič’s performance. “No, because he is a fighter, we know that already from the past. It’s incredible. It was like jumping out of your car at 50kph and then he climbed up this hill like that. It’s incredible. On the other hand, he has a little pain in the back so it’s surprising in that sense. But it’s also Primož, he’s the fighter of our team.”
Roglič was only beaten by Pogačar and his Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard in the final meters of the Planche des Belles Filles ascent. Vingegaard looked like he had almost got one over Pogačar after he attacked on the steepest part of the climb but he ran out of steam with less than 50 meters to go.
The performance sees Vingegaard move up to second place, just 35 seconds off Pogačar in the overall standings. Jumbo-Visma’s GC challenge was almost derailed earlier in the week but the team is still confident that it can knock the defending champion off his throne before the race reaches Paris.
“It was so close so you hope he will win but if you look at both, Jonas and Primož, what fighters they are and that they’re so close. We’re still big in contention so it’s very satisfying,” Plugge said. “The finish is in Paris and not here. We still have a lot of climbs to go and we will stick to our plan.”