Primož Roglič put any doubts about his form by taking the stage four victory of the 2020 Tour de France.
The Slovenian sprinted across the line ahead of his rivals on the first uphill finish of this year’s French Grand Tour, confirming he’s ready for a GC tilt after abandoning the Critérium du Dauphiné.
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“Every day I feel a little better, still not totally the same but I’ve already got confirmation on the second stage that I could still ride a bike,” Roglič said after his win. “I’m just enjoying it now, we need to stay focused and do the same as how we did, in the coming weeks.”
His main rival for yellow, defending champion Egan Bernal, was isolated in the closing kilometres after Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss upped the pace to set up Roglič’s win. The Slovenian says the final ascent to the line was tough going and he was surprised Bernal had no other Ineos team-mates around him.
Richard Carapaz finished 28 seconds down, and Bernal looked to be suffering within the few hundred metres, but Roglič expects Ineos to come out fighting and not give up their run of yellow jersey wins easily.
“It’s only the start of the Tour, but it’s an uphill finish, it’s hard for all of us,” Roglič said. “It was a hard rhythm at the end, I’m surprised, yes, but definitely this doesn’t change much.
“Everything stays the same and definitely they will also be strong and show themselves later on in the race.”
Kuss wasn’t surprised at Roglič’s form, saying he saw his team leader was right as rain in training before the Tour.
“I think we already saw he was pretty good just in the training days before the Tour,” Kuss said. “I mean, right ater the Dauphiné he was injured, of course, but he recovered a lot faster than he thought he maybe would at the beginning.”
As for going for the stage win, Jumbo-Visma only decided that after the breakaway was caught, happy to let their other team leader Tom Dumoulin sit in the wheels while capitalising on Primož Roglič’s fast finish. The Slovenian champion took 10 bonus seconds to move him up to third overall.
“We all know that Primož has a fast finish on a climb like this and then it’s perfectly fine for Tom to stay in the wheels,” Kuss explained, “but we didn’t decide to go for the win until the breakaway was caught and we didn’t have to spend too much energy before that.”