The chain jump to the bike of Primoz Roglich on the ascent of Monte Lussari it was the climax of Tour of Italy. In the story of the Slovenian, in a furious comeback on Thomas but literally on foot on a climb that even went up to 22%, he also counted on the help of a special spectator, Mitja Meznar, Roglic's former teammate in the national junior gold jumping team at the 2007 World Cup. “I was unlucky at my luckiest moment” commented Roglic, “even if I didn't immediately recognize Mitja. However, I must admit that he gave me a formidable push ”. The TV image showed Roglic stopped in the middle of the road, while a mechanic got off the bike behind him and tried to give him another bike. It was not necessary: with a right pedal stroke Primoz put the chain back in his place. Roglic used a Cervelo with single chainring and 10-44 sprocket set, a solution for gravel racing on dirt roads. Roglic also tried this solution in the finale of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage: while crossing Cortina, the 33-year-old Slovenian changed bikes, going from the one with more traditional gears to the latter. A better set for a climb as demanding as that of Lussari, but which exposed the rider to greater risks of a mechanical accident: exactly what happened.
How long was the push?
Mitja Meznar's push proved to be decisive. But how long did it really last? The TV images don't clarify: Meznar, in a red jersey and black shorts, rushed down from a higher point to help Roglic and pushed him for a long time, much more than the mechanic did when he got off the bike. The TV disconnected with Meznar still pushing behind Roglic. The issue, not raised by the UCI commissioners, is not trivial. The international rules, in point 4.3, expressly forbid prolonged pushing by a spectator. In World Tour stage races, such as the Giro d'Italia, the rider who benefits from a prolonged push incurs three penalties: a 200 Swiss franc fine, a reduction of points in the points classification and in that of the mountain grand prix and especially 10” penalty. Roglic won the Giro with 14” up Thomas. 10" less in the standings would perhaps not have changed the outcome of the last stage, but they would certainly have added pathos to the Roman catwalk, in which 10", 6" and 4" were up for grabs, in bonuses, at the finish, 3 ”, 2” and 1” at the intermediate finish line.