Jumbo-Visma leader Primož Roglič has quietly been licking his wounds since his high-speed crash on stage 3 of the Tour de France and managed to fight the pain during the Laval time trial to keep his overall ambitions alive.
There was nowhere for the Slovenian to hide in the stage 5 27.2km rolling time trial but he bravely dug deep to limit his losses. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) again gained time with another supersonic time trial.
Teammates Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard were 14 and 17 second faster than their team leader but Roglič managed to finish seventh behind Pogačar, losing only 44 seconds, while he gained time on Julian Alaphilippe, Rigoberto Uran, Richard Carapaz and even Geraint Thomas, who was fighting his own battle with the pain of a crash.
“I’m happily, I really totally squeezed everything out of myself. I stand by my ride and I’m proud of it,” Roglič said in the mixed zone after his ride and visit to anti-doping and a quick COVID-19 PCR test in a tent like every rider still in the race.
"During the time trial you always have pain. The biggest difference is that I am missing some power.”
Roglič went deep during his rider but managed to stay in his aero tuck, riding a consistent race, just below an average speed of 50km/h. Somehow he even managed to find a lighter side to his suffering after his 32-minute effort.
"I can certainly still laugh,” he told Dutch television channel NOS, finding some optimism in his pain.
“I actually really feel 'shit', I can still massively feel my wounds. Fortunately, things have been going a bit better since the fall. I was able to get through yesterday and today. Hopefully things should go even better the next few days."
Roglič climbed to tenth overall and is now 1:48 down on van der Poel. Pogačar’s 44-second gain means he is now a significant 1:40 down on his fellow Slovenian but Roglič is still in touch in the GC battle.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) is only four seconds ahead and Thomas is six seconds behind him. Only Pogačar seems on another planet.
24-year-old Danish teammate Vingegaard jumped past him up to eighth place after his superb third place but Roglič has fought back from crashes before and is determined to fight back again.
"We will give everything every day and then we will see where we end up,” he said succinctly.
“I will definitely keep fighting."
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