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The circle is closed


A tear ran down his cheek at the end. We have always seen him as one of the most easy-going, relaxed riders in the bunch, in his unmistakable “whatever will be will be” sort of attitude, but this time emotions got the better of him. The embrace of his rival João Almeida, followed by that of all his teammates (some were even more moved than he was) and the entire Jumbo-Visma staff did bring eventually bring out couple of tears.

And it is just normal to be so, because Primož Roglič has conquered Mount Lussari, winning a few steps from his native Slovenia, surrounded and propelled by thousands of compatriots, and going on to take the Maglia Rosa by sheer force. He beat Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) by 40 seconds wiih “only” 26 to recover, enough to win – still unofficially, given tomorrow’s catwalk in Rome – the Giro d’Italia 2023.

Primož has achieved the most important success of his career in the exact same manner in which he had lost it back in 2020, as on the slopes of the Planche des Belles Filles, his fellow countryman Tadej Pogačar had unbelievably snatched the yellow jersey from him on the final uphill time trial, despite the 57-second margin with which Roglič had started that stage. But he never turned it into a shock, he never saw ghosts, and this time destiny decided to give him back what he had taken from him.

Not without a few shivers, though. First, the crash in the Tortona stage, which left him with a few bruises and the need to regain his best physical condition along the way, and today the chain drop that caused him to lose at least 15″. Bottom line, he had to sweat it out, but this time he had it right. Tomorrow, in Rome, in the shadow of the Colosseum, he will finally get to enjoy a day all to himself as he will be crowned Giro d’Italia champion.

A Trofeo Senza Fine that even Geraint Thomas would surely have deserved, but he had said it yesterday, in order to celebrate the Pink dream, a “bastard” time trial was still pending, which indeed proved to be fatal for him. “Better to lose by such a big margin than by a second or two. Primož smashed me, and to be honest he deserved it, since he also had a mechanical problem. Chapeau to him”. A gentleman, whom the Giro d’Italia is honoured to have had as a leader for eight stages.

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