Primož Roglič and the yellow jersey of a race leader have a tricky relationship.
The Slovenian lost his overnight grip on the GC of Paris-Nice on the final stage Sunday. Roglič crashed twice and was left isolated as he launched a desperate final chase in the closing 20 kilometers while a pack of GC contenders ripped up the road ahead of him.
Race report: Primož Roglič tumbles out of lead at Paris-Nice
The Jumbo-Visma captain finished the stage over three minutes back to see his 52-second lead on GC crumble beneath him in a stark throwback to his dramatic Tour de France defeat by Tadej Pogačar last year. It was instead Max Schachmann that took the GC honors in Nice on Sunday.
“It was not the stage I expected, I made some mistakes,” Roglič said after the stage. “In the first fall I dislocated my left shoulder, then I fell again … I gave it my all, but I couldn’t catch up with the riders in front.”
Roglič’s second crash came at around 25km to go as the pace cranked up in advance of the final climb of the stage. Jumbo-Visma dropped riders out of the peloton to support the Slovenian as they looked to bring their leader back to the charging GC group, but Roglič was soon left isolated as his workers burned out.
“When I was behind I didn’t think the race was getting out of hand, I was just concentrating on getting the most out of my body,” he said. “That is the most important. It is always a struggle and I believe that if you can ignite that challenge within yourself you will have done what you can. I really gave it my all, this is how it ended.”
🇸🇮@rogla double les groupes de coureurs attardés mais il perd du temps sur le peloton. L’écart dépasse désormais les 2 minutes.
— Paris-Nice (@ParisNice) March 14, 2021
After losing the yellow jersey of the Tour de France on the final stage time trial last summer, Roglič bounced back to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège two weeks later before claiming the Vuelta a España that autumn.
The stoic Slovenian said he would be back after his latest shock defeat.
“It’s a shame, but let’s turn the page and look at the next races,” he said. “I will go back and fight to win more races. Obviously, I am disappointed, but the world does not stop, and I look forward.”
Roglič closed out the stage with two large holes in his shorts and road rash across both of his glutes. He was able to find some humor in the situation at least.
“How do I look physically? Could be better,” he said.