Numerous Slovenian fans came to the track, where the German driver Jasha Sutterlin drives
Photo: LUCA BETTINI / AFP
To the cheers of his Slovenian fans, Primož Roglič surprisingly snatched the pink jersey from the big favourite Geraint Thomas at the Giro d'Italia and took the decisive step towards overall victory. Despite a technical defect, the Slovenian raced to victory in the mountain time trial on the penultimate stage, making up for the 26-second gap in the overall standings.
As a result, Roglič will go into Sunday's final stage to Rome in the leader's jersey with a 14-second lead over Thomas, where traditionally nothing should change in the overall standings.
"It's unbelievable. These are moments that are always remembered. I can only enjoy it. That's what all the people at the track deserve," said Roglič.
German professional cyclist Lennart Kämna finished 18th in the 6.2-kilometer battle against the clock from Tarvisio up to Monte Lussari, 18:14 minutes behind Roglič, and thus slipped to ninth place in the overall standings.
Roglič once lost to Pogačar in the time trial
But the big spectacle came during the 7.8-kilometer climb on the final climb in the duel between the two top stars. Roglič was already clearly in the lead before the chain jumped off. But the 33-year-old was not deterred by this not far from the Slovenian border and still took the victory.
Roglič, of all people. Almost three years ago, the former ski jumper at the Tour de France lost the apparently safe yellow jersey to his compatriot Tadej Pogačar on the penultimate day in the fight against the clock in La-Planche-des-Belles-Filles.
This time, he reversed the situation – in a place he had fond memories of. In Tarvisio, where Roglič skied off the ramp on Saturday, he won the gold medal at the Junior World Championships with the Slovenian team on the ski jump in 2007 before later switching to cycling.
On Sunday, there should be no changes at the top of the overall standings on the flat final stage over 126 kilometers with start and finish in Rome.