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Critérium du Dauphiné: Primož Roglič takes lead as he zeroes in on Tour de France

'We need to finish it off' — Roglič firmly controls yellow jersey with one stage to go.

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VAUJANY, France (VN) — Primož Roglič and his Jumbo-Visma teammates are closing in on Tour de France peak form and the proof is in the yellow jersey at Critérium du Dauphiné.

The Dutch team passed the leader’s jersey from Wout van Aert to Roglič in Saturday’s three-climb stage across the heart of the French Alps.

With the Tour just weeks away, Roglič bounded out of the GC group to finish second to stage-winner Carlos Verona (Movistar).

“The thing was we didn’t really start the day with the mission to win the stage,” Roglič said. “At the end, the team took over, and the speed was high. Verona deserved it. He was the fastest one, I cannot complain.”

While Verona hung on from an early break to win, Roglič dropped everyone else in the GC pack on the final ramps to the Vaujany ski area to take over the yellow jersey from teammate Van Aert.

Also read: Jumbo-Visma aims to finally win the Dauphiné

Teammate Jonas Vingegaard was also firing on all cylinders to finish third on the stage, and the team is one-two on GC, with only Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën), third at 1:24 back, keeping things close.

Roglič erased all doubts about the knee injury that sidelined him earlier this spring.

“It was super important for my confidence and everything that I took time to come back, and I already saw with the time trial that I saw I can push a bit,” Roglič said. “The whole week I am better and better with the stages coming. Today I am super happy that I am back and that I can be back in the action.”

Jumbo-Visma has never won the Dauphiné, and Roglič is hoping to be the first from the Dutch franchise to win the important Tour warmup race.

Two years ago, Roglič looked on track to win but crashed out of contention.

“I was super close a few years ago, like at Paris-Nice as well,” he said. “Tomorrow is a big day, the ‘queens stage.’ We need to finish it off.

“Looking at my preparation, I didn’t really prepare for the Dauphiné,” he said. “I needed to come with some intensive days to get it into the legs. With the start of the Tour de France, it should be fine with this intensive week of racing.”

Also read: Carlos Verona wins stage, Roglič takes over

Roglič and Co. are steamrolling here at the Dauphiné. Other rivals, such as Bahrain-Victorious, Ineos Grenadiers, or Movistar, struggled to match the pace this week.

Roglič says he’s not watching others or paying attention to Tadej Pogačar and his training exploits in the Italian Alps.

“You are looking as a team, in terms of tactics, we try to find the best solution and the best possible way to do it,” he said. “Looking at myself is the best thing I can do. I really don’t lose too much energy on the others. It’s not really in my hands.”

Jumbo-Visma brought most of its A-list Tour starters here this week, and confidence is building inside the team bus ahead of the July 1 start of the Tour in Copenhagen.

A reporter pointed out that Roglič has held the leader’s jersey at some point in every stage race he’s started since 2018, except for last year’s Tour when he crashed out.

“I didn’t know it, funny facts. Cool, huh?” Roglič said. “It would be better to have the leader’s jersey in the end rather than in between, but it’s super nice to hear that. It’s crazy, huh?”

What’s next for Roglič?

“I go for some holidays in Tignes,” he said, referring to a pre-Tour altitude camp. “And then to the Tour.”

All eyes will be on Roglič to see if he will be wearing the yellow jersey on the final day of the Tour this year in Paris.

Everything is on for the Tour. The Dauphiné will be the cherry on the cake.