Primoz Roglic 1, Tadej Pogacar 0

Their paths had not yet crossed since the start of this season. The first direct confrontation between the Slovenian riders Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, the two “heroes” of the last Tour de France – won by the first to the detriment of the second on the penultimate day of the race – took place this week, on the roads of the Basque Country. She turned to the advantage of the elder.

By the way, Primoz Roglic (31) and his team, Jumbo-Visma, gave a little tactical lesson to Tadej Pogacar (22) and his team, UAE Emirates, during the sixth and final stage on Saturday April 10, won by Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) at the top of the Arrate climb, after 112 km of racing.

Leader on the paper of his training at the start of the event, Monday April 5, the young winner of the last Tour de France had to change, Saturday, into a luxury teammate for the American Brandon McNulty, who had donned the jersey yellow leader of the event Thursday evening, to the detriment of Primoz Roglic, who wore it until then. And this sharing of roles will have been fatal.

The wearer of the leader’s jersey who cracks

It’s not a big drama to have lost the leader’s jersey, had held to relativize, Thursday evening, Frank Maassen, the sporting director of Jumbo-Vismo on this race. He wasn’t wrong.

On Saturday, when Brandon McNulty and Tadej Pogacar found themselves trapped by an attack from several riders of the Astana team in a downhill before the halfway point, it was the Slovenian who had to “do the job” for the American to try to bring the latter back to the fugitives, including Primoz Roglic and David Gaudu.

In this game, as soon as the road went up – and it went up often on Saturday (seven climbs for 3,500 meters of elevation gain) – Brandon McNulty could not keep up, however, and broke down.

Tadej Pogacar then found himself alone to have to ensure the pursuit. For his own account. But his delay was already such that he was never able to reduce it. Especially since none of the riders from the opposing teams who were still in his company (Adam Yates from Ineos-Grenadiers, Alejandro Valverde from Movistar, Mikel Landa from Bahrain-Victorious in particular) really made his job easier.

A start to the season that was favorable to Pogacar

So far, the start of the season had been rather favorable for Tadej Pogacar. The latter thus won two stage races: the UAE Tour in February, then Tirreno-Adriatico, the Italian “two seas race”, in March.

At the same time, in March, Primoz Roglic was very much to his advantage over Paris-Nice. At least during most of the “race in the sun”. Because, after having won three stages and while he had the leader’s jersey on his shoulders and was about to be crowned, he had finally lost everything during the last stage, victim of two falls which relegated him far from the final winner, the German Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Primoz Roglic was back in preparation in Tignes in January, in an interview at The team. on his way of approaching his defeat during the Tour de France: ” Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When you’ve done everything you can, you have to accept it. Yes, it was brutal, devastating. But more for the people around me than for me. I am someone who is moving forward, I do not have to ruminate on a result. “ After the failure in Paris-Nice, the conclusion of the Tour of the Basque Country shows it. And the Slovenian duel is restarted.

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