Primož Roglič has revealed that his failure to defend his Tour of the Basque Country title was largely down to a knee injury that he was suffering with before the race.
The Jumbo-Visma rider won the race's opening time trial by five seconds but failed to make a crucial split on stage five, thus relinquishing the yellow jersey to Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Remco Evenepoel.
On the sixth and final stage, Roglič briefly attacked 40km from the line, but it was his teammate Jonas Vingegaard who looked the strongest.
Roglič eventually finished 11th on the stage, more than two minutes behind stage victor Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), and finished 8th overall, his worst general classification result in a stage race he has completed since last March's crash-marred Paris-Nice.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly after the culmination of stage six, Roglič assessed the week: "It was hard, obviously, and I had my own problems. Definitely in the end I was not good enough to be with the best ones."
Asked to expand on what his issues were, he added: "I already had some problems in the muscle behind my knee before coming here, and during the week obviously it didn't get any better. It was not really a rest week.
"Anyway, it's painful. First of all I need to get myself well, to feel good on the bike, and then we'll see in the upcoming races."
Roglič is rated as one of the favourites to prevent Tadej Pogačar from winning the Tour de France for a third successive time, but before then he and his team will try and solve his injury.
"We need to check it good," he said. "We need to really see what it is, to treat it the [best] way so that I don't have any more problems."
It was planned that Roglič would next race La Flèche Wallonne and then Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but his admission now puts his participation in the two Ardennes Classics in doubt.
The 32-year-old, however, was in positive spirits after a week racing in a region that he has admitted a number of times he feels an attachment to.
"I definitely really gave it everything this week," he said. "I really enjoyed the people, I gave it everything to race in the best possible way, with the team that we had here. Onto the next one."
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