The Jumbo-Visma rider, twice a winner of the Vuelta a España, was strategic in his attacks on climbing stages, scoring three victories — and precious time bonuses — in his first eight days of racing this season.
And then he crashed not just once on the final stage — but twice in the closing 40 kilometers — while leading the general classification of the race.
Defending champion Max Schachmann who was staring down two-in-a-row for the “Race to the Sun” said he eased the pace on the front after he learned of the first crash, to show respect for the yellow jersey. But after the Slovenian’s second tumble, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider said the race to the finish was on.
Roglič, upon finishing, sought out Schachmann and gave the two-time winner a congratulatory fist-bump, and then went off to embrace his family at the conclusion of a dramatic week of racing.
After 45km of racing, a break established itself — formed by the unification of two smaller groups — and the chase to bring them back was on. Behind them, Jumbo-Visma was doing all it could to bring Roglic back from his first spill.
With dozens of kilometers of undulating and very twisty roads, the break had to work very hard to maintain any advantage.
“The Tractor” Tim Declercq of Deceuninck-Quick-Step at six-foot-three provides excellent shelter from the wind for the six-foot-five Jonas Rutsch of EF Education-Nippo.
Roglič crashed on a technical descent and dislocated his shoulder when he took a spill, sliding into a roadside wall. He quickly remounted and was brought back to within 20 seconds of the back of the race.
Aleksandr Vlasov of Astana-Premier Tech in the white jersey saw an opportunity to exchange it for a yellow jersey.
Roglič hit the deck a second time and showed road rash on both thighs, his right elbow, and right knee.
The Jumbo-Visma captain never ceded defeat. He fought for every meter in the final stage, all the way to the finish line.
At the front of the race, the break was caught by a highly motivated Bora-Hansgrohe, aided by Astana-Premier Tech, and Team DSM.
Roglič embraced his son at the conclusion of a race turned on its head in the final hour of eight days of racing.