Team Jumbo-Visma leader Primoz Roglic turned the Giro d’Italia on its head on the penultimate day of the Italian cycling race on Saturday. The Slovenian crushed the competition in a climbing time trial on Monte Lussari to win the stage and take the pink leader’s jersey from Geraint Thomas. Unexpected happenings aside, Roglic will win the final classification of a grand tour for the fourth time after Sunday’s closing stage in Rome.
Roglic started his time trial relaxed. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma then set the fastest time of all time trials on his way to victory. The Slovenian started the day 26 seconds behind but seemed to catch up on the climb. The crowd of primarily Slovenian cycling fans cheered in support of Roglic.
But fans briefly held their breath when he suffered a shifting issue and was forced off the bike. The delay seemed to shatter the 33-year-old rider’s dream. However, Roglic did not despair and continued stoically on his way. At the finish line, the Slovenian appeared to be 40 seconds ahead of Thomas. As a result, Roglic took the pink leader’s jersey with a 14-second lead.
“I don’t have words for it yet,” Roglic said after securing his eighth victory of the season. “This is what it’s all about. Giving up is out of the question as long as there is a glimmer of hope. We saw that again today. Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win. Today, we came out on top. I wanted to make the people here and all the fans around the world proud. That was my main goal today. Hopefully, I was able to do that. I am super proud and happy. We put all our energy into this fight and enjoyed every meter. It’s special that it all came together in this beautiful place. It feels like home to me. I spent my whole childhood just a stone’s throw from here.”
Durangoan Sepp Kuss, meanwhile, finished sixth on the time trial, only 1:05 off Roglic’s pace. The result helped Kuss move up one spot in the GC to 14th out of 125 riders.
The Giro d’Italia will conclude on Sunday with the 21st stage, which is mostly flat and 126-kilometers long.