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Roglic keeps his poker face as Giro d'Italia mountains loom large

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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) during stage 11 at the Giro d'Italia

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) during stage 11 at the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Primoz Roglic sings autographs before stage 10 at the Giro

Primoz Roglic sings autographs before stage 10 at the Giro
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) setting up his cycling computer before the stage

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) setting up his cycling computer before the stage
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While Vincenzo Nibali was venting his frustrations about Primoz Roglic in a truck stop car park on the outskirts of Pinerolo after stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia, the Slovenian rider continued to keep his emotions, his real state of form and his race tactics hidden away like a world class poker player.

Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team perhaps lack Nibali's Grand Tour experience but they are ready for a fight in the mountains that begin in earnest on Friday. Thursday's stage to Pinerolo and the late Montoso climb were just a warm-up for the next three days.

After finishing 24th in Pinerolo, one place ahead of Nibali in the group of overall contenders, Roglic rode alone to the Jumbo-Visma team bus. He opted not to warm down on the rollers and took a shower before talking about his day.

He was evasive as ever, often looking away from the camera to gather his thoughts. Perhaps even playing a tactic game of fake on his rivals, Roglic revealed he did not have a good day on the first climb of this year's Giro d'Italia.

"It was the first big climb. I didn't feel really good, so I wasn't going to attack and go solo, but in the end it was okay. We've had quite a lot of rest days and it's hard to start racing again but today we (finally) started," he said without a drop of emotion.

"But I was good enough to stay with the other guys. It was nice to do a climb, to warm up for the bigger climbs."

Roglic was not aware of Nibali's frustration as he talked. He had simply ridden his own race, unconcerned about the attack by Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) after he had spun a low gear to join Nibali and the other overall contenders after the initial surge on the Montoso climb with 30km to go.

As the best placed rider in the virtual general classification, 1:44 ahead of Nibali, he can afford to call others' bluff.

"For me it was okay, it was not a big issue. They were strong, so I didn't mind they go clear," he said of the Lopez and Landa move.

Despite revealing he had endured a day of mixed feelings, Roglic seemed to be looking forward to the first real shown down in the high mountains. Stage 13 to Lago Serru is 196km long and includes three major climbs, including a spectacular mountain finish at 2247 metres. It is the real start of the fight for the maglia rosa.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Roglic let slip, dodging a suggestion that he could be back in the leader's pink jersey and so forced to take on more responsibility.

"We'll see. For me the most important thing is to have the jersey in Verona," he said.