Primož Roglič has 'special and difficult day' on cobbles as he impresses at rehearsal for Tour de France

Jumbo-Visma send Slovenian to GP de Denain to rehearse ahead of pavé stage at the Tour

Primož Roglič
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There were times during the GP de Denain when Primož Roglič looked like a complete natural on the cobbles.

The Jumbo-Visma rider raced the northern French race on Thursday off the back of his victory at Paris-Nice last week, and was in a leading group of five riders off the front in the final 30km before the move was neutralised.

In his trademark hunched style, recognisable by his blue shoes, the Slovenian did not look remotely troubled on the pavé sectors, and looked to be in contention for the win before the attacking group was caught.

Roglič went to the semi-classic to try out the cobbles ahead of this year's Tour de France, with stage five to Arenberg featuring some sectors that feature in Paris-Roubaix.

Speaking after the race, which was one by Max Walscheid of Cofidis, Roglič said that he had experienced a "special and difficult day", but that it had gone well.

"It's completely different to ride on cobblestones," he said. "I learned things I wasn't used to, like the nervousness prior to the cobblestone sections. Positioning is very important and that also makes it dangerous. I am not dissatisfied with the final result, because that was not the ultimate goal of today."

Roglič was part of a move with Magnus Sheffield, Ben Turner, and Jhonatan Narváez of Ineos Grenadiers, and Damien Touzé of AG2R Citröen, which broke clear of the peloton with 21km to go, and was only finally caught with 1.2km to the finish. He ended up finishing 36th.

His sports director, Grischa Niermann, praised his efforts in one of his first times on cobbles.

“We were here to test the men and the equipment and Primož did a great job," Niermann said. "We learned a lot for the cobblestone stage in the Tour de France. Real racing on the cobblestones is different from an exploration. Jonas [Vingegaard] had no chance after his flat tire in the second sector. 

"We can look back on today with satisfaction outside Lennard [Hofstede]'s fall, because we did what we came for. I think today has made us much better in view of the summer.”

Vingegaard is another part of Jumbo-Visma's Tour team that was at the race to gain experience. Dani Martínez of Ineos Grenadiers was another general classification rider present to dip his toe into the world of cobbles.

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