Finally, there was action and attacks by the captains, but the outcome of the 16th stage of the Giro worried the Slovenian fans. “The final slopes in the following stages are steeper, which in principle should please Primož Roglič more,” Martin Hvastija believes in the turnaround.
Primož Roglič lost almost half a minute to his first competitors in the final 4.6 kilometers of the climb to Monte Bondone. The first real confrontation between the captains on the mountain stage crystallized the situation in the fight for the pink jersey of the 106th Tour of Italy. After the 16th stage of this year’s Giro, he was a guest of MMC’s sports podcast again Martin Hvastijawith whom presenters Slavko Jerič and Toni Gruden spoke.
“I saw that Primož first drove with too heavy a gear on the last climb, then with too light, he was looking for the right rhythm. He wasn’t brilliant, which was visible in the end, but he wasn’t far behind, he limited his losses. I hope he was just a bad day,” Hvastija assessed Roglič’s competitive impression on the long finish climb.
Guess what the consequences of the fall are
Everything was ready for the attack of the Slovenian champion, but there was no characteristic acceleration and jump. Portuguese João Almeida he attacked first and drove away for a few seconds, followed by a jump Geraint Thomas and the Portuguese and the Welshman went to the Slovene with their combined forces.
“The most important thing is that Primož was not what he wanted to be. He also said that he felt the consequences of the falls. As always at Jumbo Visma, they covered up or did not hang on to the big bell. They tried to compose themselves until these decisive stages. Trend can still turn around,” Hvastija pointed out that the Dutch team is known not to disclose the extent and severity of injuries, so it is difficult to assess the impact of the fall, after which a cut on his right thigh was sewn up with a few stitches.
It’s not good when the assistant waits for the captain
Throughout Tuesday’s stage from Lake Garda to Trentino, the yellow-black controlled the development of the day, and at the end the loyal mountain assistant Sepp Kuss limit the loss and prevent any panic.
“Jumbo Visma has taken on the responsibility of dictating the rhythm, they have no choice, they are in the last week and now you have to show everything you have. You gain experience over the years and through long training together, preparations and racing together. Indeed, if the assistant on somehow he’s waiting for the captain, then something’s wrong,” notes the cycling expert, who agreed with the leaders, that it is an encouraging sign how Roglič managed to make up a few seconds in the last kilometer.
If Roglič had a bad day, it is not out of the question that the same thing happens to the current leaders Almeida and Thomas. “It will also be necessary to take advantage of opponents’ mistakes or opponents’ bad days. Unfortunately, this time Almeida took advantage of Primož’s bad day and then also Thomas, when he saw that Primož was not reacting and Kuss could not catch Almeida. The latter was already “annoyed” in Bergamo stages, but the slope was very short. He is obviously on the rise. Primož, however, is not. I hope he just felt bad.”
In principle, steeper finishes are the advantage of Roglič
11 seconds behind the Portuguese and 29 seconds behind the Welshman is the starting point for the Zasavian eagle before the three key difficult stages on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“In the next two difficult stages, the final slopes are steeper than that on Monte Bondone. Of course, also on the time trial on Višarje. In principle, this should suit Primož. We just hope that it will be as it should be. Slopes like Bondone, which also has slopes around 10%, but in between quite flat, at the top a plateau, almost flat, they are specific. Such slopes go very well with “diesels” like Almeida and and Thomas. What will happen when things are more uphill, we’ll see,” Hvastija is optimistic before the decisive three days in the mountains.
Searching for an explanation for a bad day
Do the long stages with more demanding climbs bring the most problems for Roglič in the three-week races? “Primož has won three Vuelta, which is a different kind of race where you mainly race on the last hill. On the Giro, when the real Dolomite or Alpine stages come, everything is much more complicated.” the interviewee points to a big difference in the nature of the Grand Tours.
On the other hand, the question arises as to whether captain Jumbo Visme paid the price in a difficult stage that came immediately after the second day off.
“I’m counting on this, that Primož trained too little and rehabilitated his injuries too much, or he wanted to rest as much as possible. Everyone has to know what suits them, which you only get with experience. If you don’t do proper training, proper regeneration on the day of rest, you don’t go out and do a specific, deeper massage…then, if a difficult day like this one follows, that could also be the reason that everything didn’t go as expected.”
Waiting for Višar is too risky
After the unfolding of the stage on Monte Bondone, some of the passionate Slovenian fans crept into despondency and fear that the Giro 2023 would not unfold as desired. Does Martin Hvastija still believe that Roglič will win?
“Not yet. I don’t bet myself, but I believe that he will pick himself up. He must not wait for Višar, because it is too big a risk for him to solve the backlog there. There is no doubt, he will have to attack on Thursday and Friday. Otherwise, things can also be they turn fairly,” is convinced by the sports director of the Slovenian Cycling Association and an expert commentator on TV Slovenia.
What else did we talk about?
You are invited to listen to the entire conversation, in which the following topics are discussed:
− Andrej Šifrer as the thin red thread of the episode− when he smokes from his mouth, you know the weather is really bad− Rohan Dennis as an overpowering pace setter− On the difference between driving in the belly of the main body and in the foreground− UAE Emirates as a strong team that takes advantage of the opportunity− a look at the key three consecutive stages − Višarje as a great unknown that is even steeper − Interesting facts about number 108.