As expectations rise higher and higher that he will be victorious in Paris on Sunday, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) has denied that he is feeling heightened pressure inside his Tour de France ‘bubble.’
In the lead of the Tour de France for 12 days, the Slovenian faces one major obstacle prior to his increasingly likely overall win - Saturday’s time trial to La Planche des Belles Filles.
But although he has a 57-second advantage over Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), the margin is not so big that Roglič can afford to make any errors in the time trial, en route to what would be a historic victory for his country’s sport.
Even so, after placing 45th on Friday’s transition stage through the rolling countryside on the edge of the Jura mountains, the Jumbo-Visma leader insists "so far so good" and that he is relaxed.
“I’m taking it on each moment and afterwards we’ll look back and see what happened at each point in the race," the GC leader said after stage 19.
“I’m still relaxed. So far so good. I have good legs and I’m impatient for tomorrow’s [Saturday’s] stage.”
Having checked out the time trial route earlier this season, Roglič said that the bulk of the day prior to the time trial would be spent with a second, final preview ride over the course. He re-confirmed that if he did change bikes mid-stage for the lung-bursting ascent to La Planche des Belles Filles, it would be something decided at the last moment.
One key Jumbo-Visma figure who will be missing from inside the race tomorrow will be Merijn Zeeman, the sports director who was expelled from the Tour de France after getting embroiled in an argument with a UCI commissaire.
“It’s a pity he won’t be with us, and for sure it’s not a good situation,” Roglič said. “I heard it yesterday [Thursday] evening so it was a big surprise, but I was not present when what happened. So it’s hard to comment on what he said. But it’s not nice he cannot be here any more.”
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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