The Jumbo-Visma leader crashed twice on Sunday’s 92.7km stage, both times on the circuit’s main descent. The first crash came after around 25 kilometres, and the second on the following lap around 25 kilometres from the finish line and with two climbs left to run.
Roglič suffered torn bib shorts on both sides as well as nasty road rash to his hips but revealed in a post-race interview that he also suffered the shoulder injury early on in the day.
“How to say it? It’s not the stage we were hoping for,” Roglič said. “I did some mistakes today. With the first one I dislocated the left shoulder and then one more time…” he trailed off when talking about the second crash.
“I just gave it all but unfortunately couldn’t catch the first guys anymore. It’s a little pity but we’ll go on to the next [races].”
The Astana-Premier Tech and Bora-Hansgrohe both pushed on at the front of the race after Roglič’s second crash, with his teammate Steven Kruijswjik saying later on that the rival squads only started pulling after the accident.
Bora-Hansgrohe rider Max Schachmann went on to claim his second overall title in a row at the day’s end, after Roglič had battled, largely alone, for the final 15 kilometres.
Team directeur sportif Grischa Niermann said that Roglič’s second crash had been unseen by the race directors, and thus a ‘barrage’ was imposed, meaning he was stuck with a group of dropped riders and couldn’t make his way through the team cars to get back on.
“We didn’t manage it well today. It was a really bad day for us,” Niermann said. “Primož crashed in the first descent and got back quite fast and it wasn’t a problem. Then he crashed again in the same descent, on the last corner by the river at the bottom.
“That time, he dropped his chain and took some time to get it back on. He got back on the bike with the last riders of the peloton. nobody saw it, the commissaires didn’t see it so they made a barrage for him and that’s a real pity. He made it to within 20 metres of the group and then the elastic snapped, and it was over.”
Roglič said he was focused only on giving his maximum effort during the resulting chase and what turned out to be a forlorn battle to hang onto his yellow jersey, rather than thinking about the time he was shedding.
“I was just thinking how to put everything out of your body,” he said. “That’s the main thing. It’s always a fight and I think if you can fight this fight inside yourself, you did what you could.
“I was really going over myself, and in the end, it was how it was, so there’s not much to add. Of course, we are disappointed but like I said the world will not stop and we will go forward.”
Niermann added that the peloton played fair with the first crash, waiting for the race leader as the unwritten rules of the sport dictate. The same didn’t happen after the second, with Astana-Premier Tech and Bora-Hansgrohe worked at the front. “That’s life” Niermann said.
“I think the first time, the peloton waited, and it was fair play. In the second one, they didn’t but that’s life, that’s cycling. I think you can’t blame everyone. Maybe not everyone saw him crashing but that’s cycling.
“Maybe we’d be the same if we were in second or third position. We can blame ourselves today that we weren’t able to get him back to the peloton and all the other circumstances weren’t in our favour, but we go on.”
Roglič will now take some time to rest and recover ahead of his next race. He’s scheduled to continue his season at Itzulia Basque Country on April 5, and that still looks on track to be his next race, despite his injuries.
“It could be a lot worse but luckily let’s say I will be fine probably in a couple of days or in a week,” he said. “First, I have to take some rest and then hopefully I’m ready for the next races.
“I think it’s three weeks until Basque and then two week in between and then the Classics. It’s a lot of challenges to come. I can still take some really positive things from the start of the season and I showed that we’re ready.”