Giro d’Italia: Reactions from Roglič, Healy, Gee, Geoghegan Hart, and Evenepoel on GC shakeup: ‘It wasn’t my best day’

Primož Roglič's attack on the final climb put Remco Evenepoel into the red as the GC fight takes fire: 'I have to take the opportunities that come my way.'

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

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The Giro d’Italia came out of its slumber Saturday in the classics-inspired course that saw two races in one stage.

Ben Healy became just the sixth Irish rider to win a stage at the Giro, while the short but explosive final climb saw Primož Roglič take it directly to Remco Evenepoel with some surprising results.

Roglič was joined by the Ineos Grenadiers duo of Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas, who rode together to extract 14 seconds on direct rival Evenepoel.

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The stage is set for Sunday’s decisive individual time trial.

Here’s what some of the main players said at the finish line:

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step), 19th on stage, 2nd overall

Evenepoel was distanced by Roglič and others on the final climb. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

“It just wasn’t my best day. I tried to follow Roglič and made a mistake by pushing too hard instead of riding at my own pace. The legs didn’t quite feel like on the other days, but there is no need to panic, I just have to remain calm and focused. The Giro is still long. Today was just another valuable lesson that I learned. Fortunately, I still have an advantage of half a minute on the general classification and hopefully on Sunday I will manage to gain more time on the others.”

Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), 11th on stage, 3rd overall

Roglič made a big move on the final climb, and it paid off. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

“It was a good day. I had good legs today. Luckily I was able to use those good legs to gain some time on some of my rivals. I have to take the opportunities that come my way. As soon as I get the chance, I want to make the race hard. I think I did that today. My focus is good, and I am happy with my shape. The competition is also strong. They showed that today. They say the time trial tomorrow will be flat. That will be good for the legs.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), 10th on stage, 6th overall

Geoghegan Hart, left, and Geraint Thomas had even more reason to smile after the stage. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“It was intense. The break went after two hours, and it was a strong pace all day. It was technical and an amazing atmosphere. A super-steep climb, it felt like a classics race. As expected, it really kicked off. I was happy that ‘G’ and I were in the mix in the front. Another big day tomorrow. We said in the meeting we want to try to take time on anyone we can, also stay safe, and ride our own race, and we did all three of those today. It’s very hard to make plans for this race, because there are two big favorites. In the end we have to make our race, we have to stay patient, and go when we can. We have to keep doing that in the next days.”

Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), stage-winner

Healy capped a breakout spring with a stage win Saturday. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“I’ve ridden strongly since the start of the season. Honestly it was a bit of a gamble to come to the Giro after a small break but I came super fresh. I’m not quite at the level I was in in the Ardennes classics but I had very good legs today. I missed out on my first goal which was to win stage 4 and take the maglia rosa. Sometimes I get too excited and I need to kind of sit back and reset. It helped me for today. I had put a cross on this stage on the Garibaldi [the road book]. After I broke away solo, I tried to pace well. I went into the last climb with two minutes lead and the crowd helped me tremendously up there. I’ve always enjoyed racing in Italy. I needed to be alone. If you ride solo, the victory is guaranteed. That’s always what I want to do.”

Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech), 2nd on stage

The Canadian kicked to second in the stage in his grand tour debut. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“It feels like a win. I’m over the moon. Coming into this Giro, I thought I had no chance, I was just trying to survive and get experience so this is amazing. It’s really confidence inspiring to have the team believe in me and put me in a calendar like this so I’m really happy that I can validate that.”

Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), defends pink:

Leknessund enjoys what could be his final trip to the podium in pink during this Giro. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“I didn’t know what scenario to expect today. It went pretty well. On the last climb I really suffered towards the top, but I’m really happy I kept jersey and the way I kept it. If I’m to lose it tomorrow, I’m glad that I’ve given one last nice fight. Maybe I could have stayed with Remco from the bottom to the top of the climb. I had to give it all out there and I did. I have no regrets about today. It was nice to dig deep like I did, I’m really happy. So far it’s been a Giro for breakaways. It’s what I like, but being in the maglia rosa, I wasn’t able to go. I’d like to win a stage. I’m not thinking of GC right now.”

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