Primoz Roglic offers himself the first Tour of Italy of his career

Primoz Roglic offers himself the first Tour of Italy of his career

2023-05-28 20:05:39

In 2020, on the eve of the arrival on the Champs-Elysées, a time trial had deprived him of the coronation which nevertheless seemed to him promised on the Tour de France. In 2023, the same exercise allowed him to reverse a Tour of Italy that he imagined lost. Sunday May 28, Primoz Roglic offered himself the first Giro of his career; his fourth victory in a Grand Tour after his three Vuelta triumphs (2019, 2020 and 2021).

The Slovenian was all smiles as he crossed the finish line at the foot of the Colosseum in Rome, the pink sweater – tunic of the leader in the general classification – on the shoulders, at the end of a final day won by the British sprinter Mark Cavendish.

Before the start of this 106e edition of the transalpine loop, the followers salivated at the idea of ​​a duel between the rider of the Jumbo-Visma and the Belgian Remco Evenepoel in the quest for the coronation. Fate decided otherwise. Defeated by Covid-19, for which he was diagnosed positive, the Soudal-Quick-Step prodigy had to throw in the toweljust a few hours after winning the 9e stage and having once again donned the pink jersey. And it was finally Geraint Thomas, winner of the Tour de France 2018 and 3e of its last edition, which was its main opponent.

“To be honest, Primoz deserves it”

The Welshman of the British armada Ineos-Grenadiers had recovered the precious tunic after the world champion’s package, and if he did cede it to Frenchman Bruno Armirail for a few days, the possibility of seeing him become this Sunday, at 37 years old, the oldest winner in the history of the Giro strengthened over the stages. At the finish, Geraint Thomas was beaten… by 14 seconds, one of the narrowest gaps in the annals of the event.

The fault of this time of the penultimate day, between Tarvisio and Monte Lussari, nearly 19 kilometers, including the last 7 at 12.1% average gradient. Despite a chain jump about two kilometers from the goal which caused him to lose a good ten seconds, Primoz Roglic, reigning Olympic champion in the specialty, won with 40 seconds ahead of his rival and caught up with 26 seconds. of delay which separated the two men in the general. The Welshman is a good player: “To be honest, Primoz deserves it. He smashed me, and on top of that he had a mechanical problem. Hats off to him »he commented then.

Even before the big start, in the Abruzzo region, this Giro will have given cold sweats to the Slovenian, whose training had seen his plans thwarted by the Covid-19. Robert Gesink and Tobias Foss had to withdraw, replaced by Jos van Emden and Rohan Dennis… before the former was also forced to withdraw for the same reasons. “It’s not ideal, it’s not the team we imagined at the start, but these things happen and you have to adapt”, recognized Primoz Roglic, on May 4. And to add: “In the end, our mission remains the same. » And she is successful.

Geraint Thomas’ boost to Mark Cavendish

This 106e edition of the Tour of Italy will also leave a nice memory to several French riders. To start with Bruno Armirail, that the 14e stage propelled into full light : on the podium, wearing the pink jersey, under the confetti and a bottle of sparkling wine in hand. By slipping into a breakaway of twenty-seven riders who reached the finish more than 21 minutes ahead of the peloton of favorites, the model team-mate of Groupama-FDJ had become the first Habs since Laurent Jalabert, in 1999, to wear the leader’s tunic in the Tour of Italy.

Son leader, Thibaut Pinot, will no doubt harbor some regrets after failing twice to a stage victory for his last Giro – he will retire at the end of the season. He left Italy all the same, winner of the mountain classification and 5e to the general. As for Aurélien Paret-Peintre, he signed on the transalpine roads the most beautiful victory of his career, raising his arms at the end of the 4e day at Lake Laceno. His breakaway during the 16e stage alongside his younger brother and partner in the AG2R-Citroën formation, Valentin, will also remain one of the beautiful images of this Giro 2023.

Mark Cavendish celebrates his victory on the last stage of the Giro d'Italia, in Rome, Sunday May 28, 2023.

Like this final victory of Mark Cavendish, he who announced his decision to end his career at the end of 2023. “Returning to Rome is truly magnificent”, reacted the sprinter from Astana Qazaqstan, moved, at the microphone of the organizers. Sat 17e stage victory in the Giro, the 54e on a Grand Tour, he owes it in part to Geraint Thomas, with whom he shared the Sky jersey in 2012, who helped him win the title of world champion in Copenhagen in 2011, and who was ideally placed in the last kilometer this Sunday. “I really had some top friends today, longtime friends”, will pay tribute to him the person concerned. A finale in the form of an apotheosis.

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