Primož Roglič blitzes back from shoulder surgery, lays Giro d’Italia warning for Remco Evenepoel
'I've already accomplished more than anticipated': Two wins in two days at Tirreno-Adriatico sees Slovenian bound back into cycling's front echelon.
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Primož Roglič didn’t slow down during his long layoff this winter.
The returning Slovenian ace sprinted Friday to his second victory in two days at Tirreno-Adriatico to remind Remco Evenepoel what he’s up against at the approaching Giro d’Italia.
“Another win, crazy. It’s really good, I’m having fun,” Roglič said Friday.
Roglič put himself back on the map this week after being sat on the sidelines since he crashed out of last summer’s Vuelta a España.
And with a high-profile showdown with Evenepoel in the near-view, Roglič’s Italian exploits have some added resonance in his first race in six months.
Of course, not that the typically demure Jumbo-Visma captain would admit it.
“No one needs to prove nothing to nobody, and I know [Evenepoel] will be super strong at the Giro,” Roglič said atop the Sassotetto summit. “I just take care of myself and the guys around me. We do our work and we’ll see at the end what that means.”
Also read: Another month off the bike for Primož Roglič following surgery
Roglič lost months of training time this winter as he recovered from a bone graft for his suffering shoulder. The similar period saw him ousted from the headlines by rampant young rivals Evenepoel, Tadej Pogačar and teammate Jonas Vingegaard.
Two of Roglič’s trademark mountaintop sprints in two days hands him the Tirreno leader’s jersey and a bunch of kudos as he kicks toward the Grande Partenza of what could be his “comeback” grand tour.
“It’s always nice to win,” Roglič said. “It’s fantastic to see how I recovered. We worked hard, there were a lot of sacrifices from my family and the people around me. It’s just nice to be back and enjoying it.”
Roglič has a lot to race for in 2023.
Booted from the first-choice GC spot at Jumbo-Visma by Tour de France ace Vingegaard and overshadowed by the new generation, the triple Vuelta a España champion faded from pro cycling’s consciousness when he abandoned two grand tours last year.
Rogič’s return to the Giro for the first time since he hit third in 2019 offers some chance for redemption.
There’s a lot of road between Tirreno and the Giro, but Roglič won’t be complaining how his journey toward rollout in Ortona has gone so far.
“I already said yesterday I can be more relaxed, and after today even more,” he said. “I have already accomplished more than I anticipated.”