Roglic, this Monday as he passed through the Guggenheim museum during the individual chrono on the first day of Itzulia.Luis Tejido / EFE
All morning and part of the afternoon at the office, this is how Primoz Roglic spent his work day. With a yellow tracksuit and black leggings, wearing a cap and glasses. Without giving a blow, eating from a lunch box, mocking with his mobile, sitting and watching TV, but to see who dares to fire him. The job finished in a jiffy, little more than 17 minutes, and then to wait for the end of the day.
Said like this, it seems the description of a manual absentee, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is the portrait of a champion.
797 kilometers very fun for Pogacar and Roglic
Roglic thought the opposite of his rivals. Instead of going out in the last batch of cyclists, the one usually chosen by the best, he preferred the first, while Bilbao still retained the freshness of the morning; when television had hours to go live. It was a clandestine performance. He heated up on the roller next to the Basilica of Begoña, took the exit at the feet of the patron saint of Bizkaia and began to ascend Zabalbide Street, the longest in the Biscayan capital and one of the steepest, on the way to Artxanda and Santo Sunday. At that time, his rivals were having breakfast at the hotel. Perhaps someone could see him from behind the curtains of his room, when after descending Enekuri and heading down the avenue that leads to the Deusto Bridge, he turned left to fly on his bicycle through Campo Volantín towards the City Hall and the Plaza del Gas.
The intermediate times indicate that he regulated his effort very well. At the first checkpoint, his time was just two seconds better than Pogacar's and five seconds worse than Brandon McNulty, teammate of the Tour winner. But he arrived fresh at the Echevarria park wall; He promoted it better than anyone, set the best time and stayed there, in the office, waiting for what others would do.
Sometimes attentive to what happened in the race, bored at times, talking on the phone with his relatives. Perhaps not too compliant with that rule that establishes that whoever goes first must wait for someone to unseat him to be able to leave the throne, without the possibility of abdicating, and without being able to rest like the others who have already finished their turn. It is the downside of being the king, the weight of purple. Every now and then, Roglic would get up to stretch his legs, but that was where his probation ended.
The others were coming, and no one was improving their records. Landa stayed 49 seconds behind; Adam Yates, winner of the Volta, at 28. Before that, McNulty had entered, the only one who threatened the throne, but he lost two seconds. Valverde reached the goal with a great time, but distanced, after 13.9 kilometers, in 43 seconds.
Only Pogacar, his black beast, could kick him out of the office where Roglic let the afternoon pass. The young Slovenian, winner of the last Tour, went out to run with a very daring development, 42×28, that could get him stuck on the slopes. In the intermediate time he set a good record, just two seconds behind his compatriot, but later, on the descent towards Bilbao, he lost steam. He reached the ramp of the Plaza del Gas without the possibility of contesting the victory. At the finish he took 28 seconds longer than Roglic. Optimists say that is the best for Itzulia, because Pogacar will have to attack, as if he did not always do it
So when the Tour winner crossed the line, Roglic (17m 17s) left the office smiling, he put his card in the signing machine, and he went to the podium to dress in yellow as the leader of the Basque race: "It is a good income, but you will have to be attentive every day, that it does not happen to me like in Paris-Nice." There he lost when he thought he was winning. It is not a sensation that is alien to him.
In the General, McNulty is 2 seconds behind and behind are two of Roglic's teammates, Vingegaard, at 18s, and Foss, at 24s. Pogacar is fifth, with the same time as Yates and Bevin. The first Spanish is Alex Aranburu, ninth, at 30 seconds.
You can follow DEPORTES on Facebook and Twitter , or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter .