‘Moments to live and remember’: Roglič set to win the pink jersey after winning extraordinary penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia

Thomas loses the pink jersey to Slovenian by just 14 seconds

Primoz Roglic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On an extraordinarily dramatic penultimate stage mountain time trial up Monte Lussari at the 2023 Giro d’Italia, Primož Roglič overcame a mechanical to win the stage and take the pink jersey off the shoulders of Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).

Roglič put a huge 40 seconds into Thomas to win the stage, which, with just one more ceremonial stage in Rome left to complete tomorrow, virtually seals him overall victory.

It was clear from the early time checks that the Slovenian was putting time into Thomas, but his hopes of taking the pink jersey from him appeared in tatters when he hit a pothole while on the climb, causing his chain to slip and holding him up by several seconds. 

However, Roglič composed himself again and flew up the rest of the climb, taking the stage from Thomas by a huge margin of 40 seconds. Even though he was second quickest of the day, Thomas loses the pink jersey he has held for so much of this race at the final hurdle. 

Holding his son during the finishing podium, the usually stoical Roglič looked more emotional than usual.

‘It’s just something amazing, eh? I mean, it’s not in the end about the win, it’s about the people, and the energy here is incredible. These are moments to live and remember.’

When he slipped his chain, the situation felt uncannily similar to the famous Planche des Belles Filles time trial on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour de France, when Roglič endured a torrid time and lost the yellow jersey to Tadej Pogačar when seemingly on the verge of victory. But this time Roglič was able to bounce back, and avoided the repeat of that heartbreak. 

‘I dropped the chain, it’s part of it. I didn’t fail at all, I put it back and I started, and I just went. 

‘For sure, you don’t want these things to happen. But like I said, I put the chain back on, and restarted.’

Throughout the stage Roglič was roared on by a huge number of Slovenians fans, who crossed the nearby border to support him, brandishing the nation’s blue, white and red flag across the route, and chanting his name.

‘I had the legs, and the people they gave me extra watts’, a grateful Roglič said at the finish. 

One man’s ecstasy is another’s tragedy, and Roglič’s glory came at the epxense of Geraint Thomas, who had looked well set to seal overall victory and become the oldest ever winner of the Giro.

Despite the disappointment, the Welshman remained in typically good humour.

‘For a start, people like you need to stop bugging me ‘cos I’m getting emotional’, he joked to Adam Blythe at the start of an interview with GCN.

‘I could feel my legs going like a kilometre and a half from the top of the climb.

‘I guess it’s nice to lose by that much [14 seconds] rather than a second or two, cos that would have been worse I think. So at least he smashed me. To be honest, Primož deserves that, he had a mechanical as well as still put 40 seconds into me, so chapeau to him. 

‘If you had told me this back in February or March, I would have bitten your hand off. But now I’m devastated. With the season I’ve had up ‘till this point, I can be proud of that. But I’m just gutted for the boys, they’ve worked so hard. But yeah, second. It’s another second place, at the Giro, for me.’

Further down the general classification, there was disappointment for Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) as he slipped from fifth to seventh overall, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Thomas’ teammate Thymen Arensman leapfrogging him.

With one more ceremonial circuit stage still to come in Rome, Roglič has all but won the pink jersey, but isn’t counting his chickens just yet. 

‘One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite hard and technical. It’s not over ‘till it’s finished, but it looks good.’


1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 44-23

2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 40s

3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 42s

4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 55s

5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ) at 59s

6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1-05

7. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 1-07

8. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers at 1-18

9. Andreas Leknessund (Ned) DSM at 1-49

10. Jay Vine (Aus) UAE Team Emirates at 1-53


1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 82-40-36

2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 14s

3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1-15

4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious at 4-40

5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ) at 5-43

6. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers at 6-05

7. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Jayco-AlUla at 7-30

8. Andreas Leknessund (Ned) DSM at 7-31

9. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7-46

10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers at 9-08

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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.