Following his crash and two-minute time loss on the cobbled stage 5 at the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma co-leader Primož Roglič battled on as the race hit the mountains at La Super Planche des Belles Filles on Friday.
The Slovenian, set to be Tadej Pogačar's main rival for the yellow jersey before the fall sent him tumbling down the general classification, put in a surge for victory in the hilly finish in Longwy the next day, and at Super Planche took third – best of the rest at 12 seconds down on Pogačar and Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard.
He's up to 13th overall following the seventh stage of the race, though now at 2:45 down on Pogačar, while Vingegaard lies second at 35 seconds. Speaking ahead of the stage, Roglič told reporters that, while his shoulder was stable, he was still suffering from a lot of pain, specifically in his lower back.
Having rallied once again to take third on Super Planche, out climbing the likes of Geraint Thomas, David Gaudu, Enric Mas, and Adam Yates, Roglič confirmed that his pain was still affecting him, and that he'd use the comparatively less strenuous upcoming stages to recover.
"If you imagine like every pedal stroke seated is having a knife in the back. The main goal now is to go through the stages and try to recover," he told reporters at the Jumbo-Visma bus having descended the climb following the stage.
"It was a nice climb. I’m super happy to finish up there. It was steep, eh? I really had a problem to come to the top in the last 200 metres."
Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss, who will have plenty more work to do for Vingegaard and Roglič as the race hits the Alps in the coming days, said that he wasn't surprised to see Roglič battling through the pain as he did.
"It's not surprising," he noted. "He's always fighting despite setbacks and for any rider it's hard to ride at your best level after a crash, especially when you're in or you want to be in top form. It's also mental being able to be resilient and yeah, he always shows that."
Roglič, always a man of understatement and relatively few words when speaking with the press, said that he'd be taking the upcoming stages as they come.
"Like I said, from my experience, you never know what to expect in the next days. You have to take it day by day and try to go full, then try to recover for the next one."
Jumbo-Visma, having realistically lost one of their leaders in the battle against Pogačar, with almost three minutes and counting a likely insurmountable gap for Roglič to overcome, will now look to Vingegaard to take the fight to the two-time winner.
Kuss said that his team leader – perhaps the only rider to put Pogačar in any kind of trouble at the last two editions of the Tour – is improving as the race goes on. He also noted that the team has riders who can be creative across varied terrain, hinting at the possibility of striking Pogačar outside of the high mountains.
"That's why I think we have to have the guys for all terrain. Yeah, everybody's motivated to do their job. We have to be creative," Kuss said.
"I think it's a good sign that that [Vingegaard] was that close because normally it would be maybe more convincing when it's a perfect finish for Pogačar. I think Jonas is getting better and better, and when the big Alpine stages come, he'll be even stronger than he is now."
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