Following Primož Roglič's withdrawal from the Vuelta a España, his directeur sportif at Jumbo-Visma has said that the Slovenian's second Grand Tour abandon of the season has left him "more like mentally broken".
Roglič, who completed a Vuelta triple last year, has now left three of his last four Grand Tours following crashes. His participation at this year's Tour de France came to an end 10 stages after his yellow jersey hopes had evaporated following a crash on the road to Arenberg.
The 32-year-old lay at 1:26 down on race leader Remco Evenepoel following the stage to Tomares where he had put in a late attack, before colliding with Fred Wright in the final 100 metres of stage 16, suffering wounds to his elbow, hip, knee, and rib.
Jumbo-Visma confirmed Roglič's withdrawal ahead of stage 17, with team directeur sportif Addy Engels telling reporters at the start that it would be "incredibly hard" to get over the DNF.
"It's incredibly hard of course," Engels said. "He was not done yet in this race, which he showed yesterday. Of course, it's a big blow when you crash out of the Tour last year, you crash out of the Tour this year, and then you also crash out of the Vuelta at this moment of the race, still fighting for victory. It's mentally incredibly hard, of course, to get over.
"He had a bad night and a lot of pain, which is also the reason he is not able to start today. Was there concussion? No. When he came to the bus, it was very hard for him, more like mentally broken."
Engels confirmed the extent of Roglič's injuries, which thankfully didn't include any fractures. At the Tour de France, Roglič had suffered a dislocated shoulder, and would race on in support of team leader and eventual winner Jonas Vingegaard despite suffering severe back pain.
"There were scans made this morning which showed no fractures, but a lot of wounds," Engels said. "And that, combined with the pain he had, it was certainly not possible to race in a bike race. That was already the decision this morning.
"Primož is of course not feeling well, otherwise he would take the start. He was in a lot of pain; he had a bad night. And combined with the amount of pain this morning, we decided not to start.
"Of course, for the other guys of the team it's a really big blow. We were not ready to give up the fight, as we showed yesterday in the final. Today we had a team meeting, and we have to look forward to the last five days. But, of course, it's hard."
Roglič's teammate Chris Harper also spoke to the media ahead of stage 17, which runs to a summit finish at the Monasterio de Tentudía. The New Zealander said that Roglič will certainly "come back fighting" while adding that he and his four remaining teammates would try to make the most of the remainder of the Vuelta.
"Obviously, we're super disappointed," Harper said. "We all came here 100% behind Primož to fight for the win. We still felt like we had a really good opportunity to win this bike race. Just really disappointed.
"It's sucks but I guess that's bike racing. Crashing is part of the sport unfortunately. The main is that he gets home and gets some good rest. He'll come back fighting, that's for sure.
"We've all been working really hard for the goal of putting Primož in the red jersey," he added. "He was feeling confident, especially for the coming stages. We were all super motivated to give it our best. Now we've got to try and make the switch. There are still five days of the bike race to go and we're in it, so we've got to try and make the most of it."
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