Primoz Roglic’s Tour De France hopes suffered a near-fatal setback on Stage 7 as his struggles with the climbs towards the end of the race saw him drift down the General Classification.
The Jumbo-Visma rider started the stage in 10th overall at 1:48 off yellow and 1:40 down on defending champion another fellow countryman Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
However, the Slovenian lost major time as he was dropped on the climbs during the gruelling final third of the epic 249km leg, finishing 9 minutes off stage winner and compatriot Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) who claimed his first Tour stage victory.
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Roglic’s struggles have also left him 09:11 behind yellow jersey holder Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
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Speaking on the Breakaway for Eurosport after the race, Brian Smith and Roger Hammond suggested Roglic was still suffering from his Stage 3 injury following a crash.
“I think the team knew this was going to happen that’s why we saw nobody come to the back.” Said Smith.
“He’s always going to fight back but a 250km stage in that heat, they must have been communicating throughout the day. He must have told them ‘I’m really bad today’
“It’s ok with the adrenaline of a Time Trial something he does well in and is kind of short.
“But today with a fast start, and that hard finish and the distance of the stage, there’s absolutely no place to hide.”
Highlights from Stage 7 as Matej Mohoric claims historic victory on longest stage
Hammond agreed that last year’s runner up may well be some way short of full fitness following the crash earlier in the race.
“It’s really telling when you see the leader of a team with nobody around . They’re in radio communication throughout the stage.
“When I saw him fall the other day, to lose that much skin… that’s a lot of energy,
“It’s not been an easy week anyway and trying to heal is a lot and you pay.
“Today he paid. I’m surprised to see him pay so early but it was a long, hot difficult day.”
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