Primož Roglič’s crash at the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné meant he went six weeks without training on his time trial bike ahead of the fateful La Planche des Belles Filles stage of the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma head of performance Mathieu Heijboer has revealed.
Roglič looked poised to win last year’s Tour only to lost a surprising 1:56 to his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in the 36km test on the final weekend of the race.
It is a costly mistake that Roglič and Jumbo-Visma intend to avoid in 2021.
"No fundamental mistake was made," Heijboer claimed when speaking to L’Équipe.
"Primož had fallen heavily at the Dauphiné, which completely deprived him of training on his time trial bike before the Tour. By the morning of La Planche, it had been six weeks since he had been on his [time trial] machine, that’s an enormous handicap."
With a total of 58 kilometres of time trialling on the route of the 2021 Tour – and with a medal at the Tokyo Olympics also a target – Roglič will dedicate significant attention to the discipline over the coming weeks. He has already been to reconnoitre the routes of the Laval (stage 5) and Saint-Émilion (stage 20) time trials, tackling both on the day after he won Itzulia Basque Country.
"He’s going to do a lot of training rides on his time trial bike, a minimum of two or three per week, with somebody always with him to correct his position," said Heijboer. "There are some very suitable roads in Spain and in Tignes, too, in the valley."
After placing second at La Flèche Wallonne and 13th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last week, Roglič will not race again until the Grand Départ in Brest on June 26. He will spend three weeks in May at Sierra Nevada before moving on to train in Tignes ahead of the Tour.
Heijboer pointed out that a similar strategy has worked for Roglič in the past. He went 12 weeks without racing in 2019 between his third place finish at the Giro d’Italia and his first overall victory at the Vuelta a España.
"We’ve known for a long time that Primož is already at his best level immediately after training camps so we have decided on a long break between the Ardennes Classics and the Tour," said Heijboer.
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