On the second rest day of the 2020 Tour de France, race leader Primož Roglič headed out to preview the final climb of tomorrow stage before a meal and a massage. He was relaxed and clearly enjoying the strength of his Jumbo-Visma team thus far in the Tour.
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Roglič was also awaiting the results of the team’s COVID-19 tests. As with the first rest-day testing, the Tour’s two-strike protocol is that if two or more members of the same team test positive, then the entire team must leave the race. Roglič also seemed relaxed about this.
“They say that we will have a negative test, so I’m really happy that we have one more week of racing,” he said. ” It’s not really stressful. What can I do? We follow the rules. We do everything that has to be. We are not stressing ourselves about that.”
Roglič and his Jumbo-Visma teammates like Sepp Kuss have reiterated throughout the Tour that they aren’t worrying about other teams’ strategies, that they instead are focused on sticking to their plan. And clearly, with the yellow jersey on Roglič’s back and the most dominant team controlling the front of the race every day — that plan is working.
“For sure we showed a really high level with the team,” he said. “So far so good and we can be also optimistic for the final week.”
The key thing for the final week, he said, it to maintain focus as everyone’s level of fatigue rises.
“When [you are] more and more tired, it can be easy to lose concentration, and stupid things can happen. We cannot afford that,” he said. “We will do our job; that’s the only thing. There are big mountains still to come, especially La Loze and the final time trial. That is a really important day.”
The Col de la Loze is the summit finish of Stage 17. And Stage 20 — the only time trial of this year’s race — features a stiff uphill finish to the summit of La Planche des Belles Filles, a 5.9km climb at a stiff 8.5 percent average gradient.
Roglič is followed on the general classification by his Slovenian countryman Tadej Pogačar, who beat him to the line on stage 15. Roglič conceded that he was disappointed to miss out on the stage win — “Of course I was; I’m always disappointed” — but that in the big picture, both he and Jumbo-Visma are riding great, so he’s not worried.
Pogačar has made it clear that he will keep attacking, and looking for ways to win the overall Tour de France. And while third through seventh in the GC battle remains up in the air, it seems the race for the jersey is really a two-Slovenian competition at this point.
Roglič says he is confident that a Slovenian will win the 2020 Tour de France. As to which rider? “That name, we will see, in one week or a couple of days,” he said. “Hopefully my name.”