- - Giro d'Italia 2023 Stage 20

Giro d’Italia 2023 Stage 20

photo credits @ RCS

Primož Roglič stamped his authority on today’s mountain time trial stage, beating Geraint Thomas to takeover the race lead.

Roglič was already ahead of Thomas on the punishing upper slopes of the Monte Lussari time trial when a mechanical in the closing kilometers forced him to change bikes.

Despite a mechanical setback, Roglič was able to fight back, claim the victory over Thomas and win the stage by 40 seconds over the Welshman, with João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) in third at 42 seconds.

“It’s something amazing. It’s not about the win itself, but about the people and the energy here. It’s a moment to live and to remember,” Roglič said at the line.

Roglič’s push at the pink jersey looked like it had been derailed when he dropped a chain in the final kilometers of the Lussari ascent.

“I dropped the chain, it’s part of it. I put it back and I just went up,” he said. “For sure you didn’t want these things to happen, but I could put the chain back on, and I could restart.”

Barring disaster, Roglič will seal the Giro d’Italia in a sprinter stage Sunday around Roma. After DNFs in his last two grand tours, the 33-year-old Roglič will adds the corsa rosa to his three Vuelta a España titles.

Roglič rode to the top of the GC for the first time of the whole race in front of mobs of Slovenian spectators that flooded across the nearby border.

“I had the legs, and the people, they give me extra watts. I was just flying and enjoying,” he said.

“One more day to go, one more focus, because the lap is technical, but it’s not over until it’s finished, but it looks good.”

Roglič will ride into Rome with a 14-second advantage overall over Thomas on GC, with Almeida in third.

Race Highlights 

Roglič set the fastest time on the flat opening portion of the stage by the slimmest of margins but nobody knew whether he had enough to reverse a 26-second overnight defecit.

Thomas took the time to switch from a road to time trial helmet when he swapped out his bikes at the base of the Lussari climb, opting for a lighter and cooler lid on the hot sunny afternoon.

Despite the Welshman’s slower equipment switchover, he was only 2 seconds back on Roglič ahead of the leg-snapper grades of the uphill final.

The severe 7km Lussari ascent was mobbed-out with Slovenian fans that had swarmed across the nearby border. Roglič rode a huge rear sprocket for the 15 percent grades that enabled him to spin smooth and easy, and grew out his advantage over Thomas to 14 seconds by mid-way up the mountain finish

The Slovenian rider hit a pot-hole in the final kilometers of the climb, lost his chain, losing precious seconds while his staffer helped him switch to a spare bike.

Roglič must have ridden on adrenaline through the final kilometers of his stage. The Jumbo-Visma captain powered to the finish in a lightning fast climb that set a fastest time of 42 seconds an was good to have scored him a first maglia rosa.

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