Remco Evenepoel: I feel sad about Primož Roglič’s Vuelta a España withdrawal
‘It’s a loss for the race and a pity for him’.
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Race leader Remco Evenepoel may have one less rival to worry about in the Vuelta a España, but the Belgian has said that he regrets the withdrawal of Primož Roglič prior to the start of stage 17 of the race.
Roglič crashed in the finale of stage 16 and his Jumbo-Visma team announced on Wednesday morning that he is unable to continue.
“I also feel sad,” said Evenepoel. “It’s not nice to lose a big competitor, a big champion, and one of the top guys in the race like this. It’s a loss for the race and a pity for him and the team. They’ve worked hard for La Vuelta. I feel sorry for them.”
- Vuelta a España: Primož Roglič crashes hard during finale of stage 16
- Primož Roglič abandons Vuelta a España following stage 16 crash
- Vuelta a España commentary: How will Primož Roglič’s abandon impact the GC contest?
Roglič won the past three editions of the Vuelta and was aiming for what would have been a record fourth consecutive victory in the event. Although he started below par due to the injury he suffered in the Tour de France, he was gradually becoming stronger, was sitting second overall, and had taken time out of Evenepoel in the past three stages of the race.
Roglič was 2:41 behind the red jersey at the end of stage 13. The time gained since then, including the eight seconds he picked up on stage 16 meant that had he started on Wednesday, he would have been just 1:26 back.
His form was picking up and momentum was on his side. Despite that disappointment, he and others will welcome Evenepoel’s message of commiseration and his well-wishes.
“I think from here on I can only wish the best to him and that he recovers well,” he said.
Mindful of how quickly things can shift, the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider will now focus on holding the race lead until the Vuelta conclusion in Madrid.
“We were in the front yesterday. Everybody is still dangerous, every day is dangerous, every corner is dangerous, we have to be careful and focus until Saturday evening, even Sunday evening,” he said.