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The Dutch team has defended Roglič’s decision to go on the attack on the Puerto de Almáchar in an effort to gain seconds on his rivals. The move looked like it might well pay off until the Slovenian slid out on a corner and nearly collided with a guardrail.
Jumbo-Visma sport director Addy Engels admitted that the attack brought some risk, but it was no more dangerous than if Roglič had sat back in the group of favorites. He also echoed the words of the two-time defending champion by telling reporters at the start of stage 11: “no risk, no glory”.
“I think it’s a bit too easy to talk about a few seconds. At the moment of the crash, he was close to half a minute up, and even with the crash he still gained more than half a minute on [Egan] Bernal and [Adam] Yates. That’s not a small gap,” Engels told Eurosport and other journalists in Antequera.
“It’s a bit risky but cycling is also risky. If he didn’t make the attack, then somebody else may have and he still would have had to do a fast descent… It could also happen when he is in the wheels of the other guys. It is risky but as Primož said after the finish ‘no risk, no glory’. It is something to admire that he is willing to race like this.”
Roglič was caught by the small group of chasers, which included his biggest GC threats Enric Mas and Miguel Ángel López, when he crashed, and they rolled into the finish together. Ineos Grenadiers failed to get a rider into the chasing pack and its two best-placed riders, Bernal and Yates, gave away 37 seconds to Roglič.
Jumbo-Visma went into stage 10 with few expectations other than trying to control the bunch.
Once the sizeable breakaway went up the road after a long battle, the team saw its chance to hand the leader’s jersey away to a rider they did not deem a threat to Roglič’s overall ambitions. As the race approached the Puerto de Almáchar, the team had succeeded in ensuring Odd Christian Eiking would be the new race leader at the end of the day.
Also read: What the stars said after stage 10
While that was going on, Roglič had formulated his plot to gain some GC time on those who were a threat to his bid for a third consecutive title. When he launched his move, none of his rivals had the legs to hold on and he quickly built a gap.
“Before the start, we also explained that we were happy with the situation and the tactics were to maintain the situation as it was. Then, of course, we had a really big breakaway after a long and hard fight and then the first switch in the tactics was that it was a really good opportunity again to give away the jersey, which we did,” Engels explained.
“Primož himself came up with the idea to attack. He said he felt really strong. It’s a grand tour and we’ve got to be alert every day. Something can happen at any moment, but it also goes the other way, and you can also try something yourself. In the end, we had a good talk about it, Grischa [Niermann – sport director] and me, and if he feels that strong and he wants to try then I’m not the guy to say stop.”
Wednesday’s stage from Antequera to Valdepeñas de Jaén is another medium mountain effort with the second-category Puerto de Lochubín peaking less than 10km from the finish. A short descent is quickly followed by a punchy rise to the finish, and Roglič has his eyes set on another go off the front.
“If we can get into a situation where we are in control and then wants to have a go for it and try to win the stage,” Engels said.