Primož Roglič grinds through Itzulia Basque Country with muscle issues

Problem with muscles behind knee put the handbrake on Roglič's Itzulia defense, officials hopeful for speedy recovery.

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Primož Roglič gutted out six days of steep hills and relentless racing at Itzulia Basque Country with muscle problems, Jumbo-Visma confirmed.

The Slovenian star spent four days in the leader’s jersey of this week’s WorldTour race before dropping to eighth in the two aggressive stages that closed out the Basque tour.

“He’s got an issue with a muscle behind his knee,” Jumbo-Visma officials told VeloNews.

Also read: Roglič tumbles out of GC, Vingegaard stumbles near the line at Itzulia

Roglič first showed rare moments of struggle in stage 5 on Friday and slid out of the leader’s jersey.

He opened the attacking in Saturday’s stunning final stage but dropped off the pace when the GC groups exploded over the road, finishing more than two minutes back on the Arrate.

The defending Itzulia champ finished up eighth overall, more than three minutes down on race-winner Daniel Martínez in what was a rare divot from his crushing consistency.

“I simply wasn’t good enough to follow the best in the final,” Roglič said Saturday. “It’s been a tough few days. I gave everything last week. As a team we got some good results. I enjoyed the people along the side.”

Also read: How Roglič mentored Vingegaard into the Tour de France frame

Jumbo-Visma is hoping that Roglič’s niggles won’t impact his Ardennes campaign.

The 32-year-old is slated to race La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the middle of this month and should start as a top-tier favorite after winning La Doyenne in 2020.

“With some treatment and a bit of rest it will be OK. His participation in the Basque Country was a bit in doubt before the race, but it’s under control, as far as I know,” officials told VeloNews.

Roglič and teammate Jonas Vingegaard had used Itzulia as a dry run for shared leadership of Jumbo-Visma at the Tour de France this summer.

Vingegaard finished sixth overall after starting the race in the shadow of his Slovenian senior.

“We raced to win,” sport director Marc Reef said. “Of course we had hoped for more, but we showed ourselves this week in the Basque Country.”

Roglič has 10 days to shake out his legs ahead of Flèche and Liège before starting on the long road toward the Tour de France.

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