Roglic torments Evenepoel in the Giro d’Italia | Sports

Roglic, on the attack on the slope of the Capuchins of Fossombrone.
Roglic, on the attack on the slope of the Capuchins of Fossombrone.Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse FerrariFabio (LAPRESSE)

The Giro is a game of appearances. On the first day, on a bike path, Remco Evenepoel rolls at 58 per hour and gives the impression that no one in life will ever be able to catch up with him, wherever he goes. In exact terms, it is a 43s time trial on Primoz Roglic, the rival. The following Saturday, on a slope that seems more appropriate for a classicsman, like the Irish Ben Healy who wins the stage with a 50-kilometre attack on the great breakaway of 13 in which he was participating, which for a Giro contender, Roglic accelerates without looking back on the banks of the placid Metauro and its circular bridge, 18% zones, ideal for his dynamite legs, and Evenepoel dies trying to follow him. Seeing it like this, no one doubts that the Slovenian will easily win the Giro, and that message has been sent, arrogant school bully, to the world champion, look, I can do whatever I want with you, I wouldn’t be sure of anything about you. They are actually 14s apart. “Everything was planned,” says Marc Reef, director of Roglic’s Jumbo. “Above all we want to put pressure on Evenepoel. We already knew that on that climb, five kilometers from the finish line, we weren’t going to get more than a few seconds”.

In the standings, 8s behind the Norwegian Andreas Leknessund, who resists in pink, Evenepoel is second, with 30s over Roglic. Thus they arrive at the Cesena time trial, 35 flat kilometers, where Evenepoel wants to cement his final victory. “I’ll take a minute from Roglic,” says Evenepoel. And Marc Reef responds: “We’ll see. Roglic is very, very good”.

In the Papal States, in dark forests, wicked slopes, tortuous roads, without respite, Primoz Roglic handles himself with the malice of a cardinal. 15 kilometers from the finish line in Fossombrone, small hills, on the Montefelcino slope, the Slovenian who is a veteran makes his teammate Bouwman accelerate, who hits him as hard as if he were throwing a sprint. And soon, suddenly, it stops dead. Roglic is no longer at his wheel. He is not even in the group of the best, reduced to twenty in a long, fast day, more than 45 on average, in pursuit of a break of 13. The Slovenian reappears shortly after. Don’t worry. He had stopped to urinate in the ditch. Great theater. Great bewilderment for Evenepoel, a child again, totally hung up on Roglic’s juggling.

You might think that the Slovenian, with his serious sense of humor, was enough with a feint game, a cock, be careful, I give you, there are enough slopes here to hurt you. The illusion, at least reassured Evenepoel, who attacked relaxed, delayed the second climb to the Capuchin slope, 2,800 killer meters, and when Roglic attacks he only sees a yellow ray accelerate to his right and make a gap of 20 meters in his same noses. Evenepoel was sixth or seventh in the group, which Lennard Kämna’s Bora had stretched. Seeing Roglic like this, Evenepoel melts. A victim of panic, he accelerates crazy as if he could catch up with two pedal strokes. He needs to be close. He needs the scent of the Slovenian. He approaches five meters, he already has the Slovenian there when, plaf, he looks at his legs, looks at his computer, it’s over. The Ineos couple passes him, Tao Geoghegan-Geraint Thomas, always hand in hand, who easily places himself behind Roglic’s wheel and without giving him a relay more than in the last 500 meters, goes with him. “And I should have done like Thomas, approached gradually, and not panicked. I had the legs to be with them, and I burst. I have been stupid”, says Evenepoel. “One more lesson I’ve learned.”

Evenepoel and Roglic measure the efforts, the attacks, and from each one they do they want to extract oil, since their Giro does not end every night, but on the 28th, and they have counted the watts. There are also cyclists whose destiny is to waste, to live each day like a classic, without tomorrow. Of these, of those who have no problem spending all their watts one day, is Ben Healy, a lover of ugly, cold, hard days, a specimen Chiappucci-Bettini mix, to give Italian examples, with traits of Kelly and Roche, for to honor the Irish roots of his grandparents, which have allowed him, born in Birmingham in the year 2000, the year of Evenepoel’s genius, to ride proudly as an Irish tricolor, twist his neck, hold the handlebars tight, speed up his pedaling , light, winged, and determined to attack 50 kilometers from the finish line, in the first step up the 18% slope of the Capuchins (at the top there are Franciscan monks, not coffee-stained foamy milk), springboard to victory in Fossombrone, and the love of the fans, who only regret that the mandatory use of a helmet does not allow them to enjoy their long hair, almost shaggy, flying free at the impulse of their pedaling and kidney strokes, either in the Giro or in the Amstel , where only the omnipotent Tadej Pogacar could with him.

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