Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech) has backed Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) to “come back even stronger” after a freak crash ended the Slovenian’s hopes of a fourth-straight title at La Vuelta.
Roglic blew the bunch apart on Stage 16 with a devastating attack inside the final 3km, only to contrive to crash in the sprint tear-up as he jostled for victory with his fellow escapees.
The 32-year-old remounted to cross the finish wounded and bloodied, even clawing back eight seconds on race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) after being awarded the same time as winner Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), but the Slovenian abandoned ahead of Wednesday’s run from Aracena to Monasterio de Tentudia.
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It was the latest episode of rotten luck for Roglic, who arrived at the Vuelta after another Tour de France to forget ended with a back injury.
Froome is no stranger to crashing out of Grand Tours himself, having left the 2015 Vuelta with a broken foot and abandoning the 2014 Tour de France after a succession of painful early crashes.
“It’s tough,” said Froome when asked about how Roglic would cope with his latest setback.
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“Especially at this point in the season, there’s not really much more to get out of the season if you’re injured at this moment. So I imagine that’s probably going to be the end of his racing season.
“He’s had a tough year, especially with being injured at the Tour de France, being injured now at the Vuelta a Espana, but I have no doubt that he’ll be able to refocus again for next year, have a good rest now and then start fresh next year.
Asked how Roglic would refocus, Froome continued: “It’s the name of the game for us in cycling.
“Obviously we’re going from event to event to event, so I mean in a way it’s quite easy.
“You don’t harp on [about] what happened in the past, you are always looking forward, always looking at the next event.
“And I’m sure for Primoz this can be a season now to put behind him and I’m sure he’ll come back even stronger with more motivation for the next season.”
With Roglic out, Evenepoel looks poised to win his maiden Grand Tour. The Belgian leads the general classification by 2’01” from Enric Mas (Movistar).
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