Roglic endures Evenepoel’s attacks on Montjuïc and is proclaimed champion of the Volta | Sports

Roglic celebrates the victory in the Volta.
Roglic celebrates the victory in the Volta.JOSEP LAGO (AFP)

A shadow, a limpet, a sage. Although he has suffered tremendously to endure the repetitive attacks of Remco Evenepoel, of fire and pride, also of hunger and pride, Primoz Roglic only had two moments, two sprints finals, to be crowned in the Volta. One in the first stage, final uphill slope and stage victory; and another in Lo Port, where lactic acid, gallantry and bravery took their toll on the Belgian, as he caught a 50-meter bird, the worst punishment. It was not, however, Remco’s only mistake, because in La Molina, full of happiness for unstitching Roglic in the final meters, he raised the accelerator and arms to savor the celebration. He lost a second or two, enough not to take the lead; what was required to have to continue being the one who ran to attack and not to defend. Condition that he has accepted and dignified the Belgian because he has tried in all stages and until the end. So much so that Roglic, stately, did not dispute the last sprint in Montjuic. He passed right behind, close to him, as usual. And what he needed to win this magnetic and delicious battle of giants in which experience prevailed over inexperience.

Early in the morning, Evenepoel appeared at the signature control with a smile from ear to ear, greetings everywhere and lively chats with his colleagues. But when a bus approached him, he changed gears, look and expression, gauze of the applicant, although already winner of a Vuelta and a World Cup. “It’s very difficult, but I’m going to attack”, he resolved with determination and without a doubt. Minutes later he appeared next to Roglic’s team, a shy smile and little given to expressiveness, perhaps a thumbs up to emphasize that his is explained on the bicycle. But he left the forum when it was his turn to go through the media area, straight to the seat and to the first row of the starting line. There he met Remco. Greetings, good words and sportsmanship, because what happens on the road stays on the road, as happened in the previous stage, when the Belgian reproached him with fuss for giving him relays to dispute the stage between the two and the Slovenian, undaunted , the shadow followed him because there was no reason for him to expose himself. “The previous day was the hardest of the Volta due to the rhythm and the efforts, but this Sunday it will be the same”, recognized Sepp Kuss, Roglic’s gold gregarious; “Evenepoel will attack and let’s hope Primoz can hold.” From Jumbo-Visma, in any case, they were clear: “Roglic has slept well, he is calm and knows what he has to do.” Also Evenepoel and Quick-Step. But he did not reach them.

Although nine cyclists managed to open a gap to forge the escape, among them a Carapaz who continues with his set-up, Quick-Step put on his work overalls from the start of the stage, how hard his Volta was because there was not a day on holiday! He wanted the Evenepoel group to reduce everything to the same six ascents of Montjuïc of 2.5 kilometers with maximum slopes of 19%. Punishment for the legs of the runners and jauja, spectacle and madness for the fans. It didn’t take long for Quick-Step’s verve to erode the peloton, which with the passage of the tiles frayed without remission, a colored snake one by one because the frenetic, diabolical rhythm did not allow anything else. The strategy was clear. Remco asked for energy and speed for the earpiece, while guarding Van Wilder to shoot in the final moments before his attack. So one by one, ascent by ascent, the Quick-Steps pulled and hardened the stage, until, exhausted, they threw themselves to one side to make way for the next. Until with 30 kilometers to go, Evenepoel launched his ordeal, a new start that blew up the race.

Only Roglic was able to get out of him, also a Marc Soler who endured as long as he could, what his legs lasted for. “I was able to respond to the attack, but then they rolled very fast and it took its toll on me,” the Catalan accepted; “I’m dead”. But Roglic and Evenepoel do not understand that, about deaths, who put the automatic pilot and as far as the pedals would take him. Yes, he asked, once again, for groundhog day for him, taking over from a Primoz who did the longuis until the descents, when, I catch because it is a terrain that dominates, he assumed to be the hare to, incidentally, not get into tangles in the form of a fall. It became clear that Evenepoel could not detach himself from Roglic, that the Slovenian had tied him to the end of the world and beyond. And yes, it has been a week of erosion and spectacle, where the escapes of David De la Cruz (Astana), the starts of Marc Soler (UAE), the fight of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) to wear the red jersey have called for prominence , the victory between flashes of Ciccone on top of Vallter and the top speed of Groves to take two sprints, but the best and almost the only thing has been the beauty on the handlebars in an endless fight between Evenepoel and Roglic. A give and take of two geniuses on the pedals, two beasts who assumed the Volta as the best preparation for the Giro, their great objective of the course.


7th stage

Barcelona – Barcelona (136 km)

1. R. Evenepoel (Belgium/Quick-Step) 2h 59m 24s

2. P. Roglic (Slovenia/Jumbo) mt.

3.Marc Soler (UAE) to 53s

4. Corbin Strong (N. Zealand/Israel) at 58s

5. G. Ciccone (Italy/Trek-Segafredo) at 58s

6. A. Lorentz Kron (Denmark/Lotto) at 58s

7. Mikel Landa (Bahrain) at 58s


1. P. Roglic (Slovenia/Jumbo) 28h 19m 10s

2. R. Evenepoel (Belgium/Quick-Step) at 6s

3. J. Almeida (Portugal/UAE) at 2m 11s

4. Marc Soler (UAE) at 2m 49s

5. Mikel Landa (Bahrain) at 2m 59s

6. M. Woods (Canada/Israel) at 3m 3s

7. G. Ciccone (Italy/Trek-Segafredo) at 3m 6s

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