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After crashing heavily and abandoning the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, the Slovenian has been in a late battle to recover in time to lead his team into battle against Team Ineos Grenadiers at the Tour.
Roglič set the rumor mill churning on Friday, saying on Instagram, “I honestly thought that I will feel better by now after the crash on Saturday … Let’s see what upcoming days will bring.”
Team Jumbo-Visma has remained quiet about Roglič’s condition since the Dauphiné, and is still yet to finalize its Tour roster. The Slovenian revealed Tuesday he’s still battling for health.
“Right now I am not sure if I can start the Tour on Saturday in Nice,” Roglič told AS.com. “I thought that I would absorb the blows from the impact after a few days, but right now I am not feeling my best. It could have been worse, but it’s far from ideal to hurt yourself just a few days before the start of the Tour.”
Having already lost one of its three leaders after Steven Kruijswijk crashed out of the Dauphiné, Roglič also pulling out of the Tour would mark a massive blow for the team and totally reshape the potential GC landscape at this year’s race. The Slovenian has marked himself out as the man to beat this summer and the top candidate for wrestling the yellow jersey away from Egan Bernal and his Ineos teammates.
Blows to Bora-Hansgrohe
Bora-Hansgrohe has also been left reeling from injuries to its key riders.
The German team confirmed its roster for the Tour on Monday, and after some doubts over their condition, GC leader Emanuel Buchmann and powerhouse all-rounder Max Schachmann were included in the selection.
Alongside Peter Sagan, Buchmann, fourth in last year’s Tour, is the focal point of his team at this year’s Tour. His crash on the same descent as Kruijswijk at the Dauphiné has had a major impact on his Tour preparations, with the team sounding bleak about his prospects in a statement Monday.
“He had to take a complete break for a few days and thereby lost crucial training time,” said team doctor Jan-Niklas Droste. “From a medical perspective, his injuries are following a normal time progression, so if this continues in a similar manner, we’ll be on the right track ahead of the Tour. Physically, however, he will certainly not be in optimal shape at this point.”
Buchmann was equally pessimistic.
“This has been a bitter setback,” he said Monday. “At the Dauphiné, I was the strongest on the mountain behind Roglič, together with Pinot. Now there are a few question marks hanging over my head, especially since the race is about to kick off in earnest so soon … We’ll just have to wait and see how far I can make it up there. I can only tackle the Tour from day to day now.”
Schachmann, who would have formed a powerful ally to Sagan for hunting stages and helper to Buchmann in the mountains, has been racing to heal a fractured collarbone sustained when hit by a car at Il Lombardia. His recovery in time for the Tour will be a positive for the team, but the edge will have been taken off the rich vein of form he showed through August, with top-1os in both Strade Bianche and Il Lombardia.
“I would have liked different conditions,” Schachmann said. “I’ve been training as well as possible over the last few days and I hope I’ll be able to really take on the race and deal with the pain.”
Lotto-Soudal was also hit with a late injury blow over the weekend, with breakaway expert Tim Wellens having to withdraw from their team having crashed in training Friday.
It’s not just COVID-free bubbles that teams will be entering before the Tour de France on Saturday. Management will be wrapping its key players in bandages in the bid to keep its stars race-ready ahead of the biggest race of the season.