Jumbo-Visma think Primož Roglič's GC battle at the 2021 Tour de France is probably over after the Slovenian lost time on stage seven, continuing to struggle with injuries sustained in a crash on stage three.
"I think we have to be realistic but we have to see tonight," sports director Frans Maassen said after the stage of Roglič's chances for the overall. "I have to speak to him but he lost time to the big favourites, you saw him suffering so I think it will be over him."
The team were slightly surprised that Roglič was dropped on the hectic stage seven and ended up losing nearly four minutes, having gone better than expected in the stage five time trial two days before.
But before the start on stage seven Roglič had said he was still in considerable pain on the bike, specifically his back and tailbone after his heavy fall on the third day - team-mate Jonas Vingegaard adding it was lucky the time trial was on stage five rather than four such was the delicate nature of Roglič's condition.
"Unfortunately, he has suffered in the last days, we knew that," Maassen said. "We hoped that he would have recovered because he did a really good time trial. Seeing the circumstances today, he lost time, it was a pity to see him riding like that, but it’s like it is and we can't change that.
"It’s not nice to see because he’s a big star. He fought to try and not lose time."
As for what is next for Jumbo-Visma, Wout van Aert has said he's not ready for a GC tilt despite gaining four minutes on the favourites for the overall today and currently sitting second, half a minute behind the yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel.
Another option is the young Dane Jonas Vingegaard, who has impressed already this Tour as well as in this break-out year for him.
"We have to discuss that tonight. We first have to speak to Primož and then make a decision," Maassen said.
Vingegaard is currently nearly two minutes in arrears to Tadej Pogačar in the GC but ahead of Ineos' Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz.
"He’s here to learn and he’s learning really fast," Maassen said of Vingegaard. "Hopefully he has the same strength in the mountains as in the TT."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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