The uphill time trial overturns the Giro. Thomas loses 40 seconds, 14 more than he had to defend. "You were better than me," the Welshman told the Slovenian
After the finish line of the twentieth stage of the Giro d'Italia, Geraint Thomas's eyes were turned towards the ground, because they are disconsolate and the bitterness is heavy and makes everything drip down. Geraint Thomas had just crossed the finish line 40 seconds behind Primoz Roglic. He had lost the pink jersey. Primoz Roglic was watching his rival's last meters from a screen, twenty-sixth of a second behind Thomas, his legs began to flex, inch by inch, second after second. He found himself on the ground, with a towel in his hands, on his face, wiping sweat, that drool that accompanied the last hundreds of meters, maybe something else. He found himself on the ground uncertain whether to be moved or overjoyed. Certainly the second, it cannot be otherwise. But at that moment his expression hadn't decided what to do, which road to take. Then his smile, his usual smile, fine, never coarse.
Geraint Thomas caught his breath, looked at Monte Lussari, bit his lip. Then, minutes later, he went to compliment Primoz Roglic: "You were better than me." The Slovenian looked at him with the empathy of someone who knows very well what it feels like in these moments. In a time trial, the one that led to the top of the Planche des Belles Filles, Tadej Pogacar overturned a Tour de France that Roglic knew he could win. In a time trial, the one on Monte Lussari, Primoz Roglic overturned a Giro d'Italia that Thomas knew he could win. The slaps taken are not forgotten, they come back out, one way or another. Nothing is balanced, there is no recovery victory that cancels a victory that hasn't arrived. It won't even happen to Geraint Thomas and not just due to age limits: a 37-year-old Giro would have been a good victory, no one had ever succeeded. It went wrong for 14 seconds. Three more than those who separated Fiorenzo Magni and Ezio Cecchi in 1948. The cycling pax of the last stage is an unwritten rule, it will hardly be different tomorrow in Rome.
"It's beautiful", "it was a great fight", "we needed to be positive", said Primoz Roglic wearing the pink jersey. It helped to be positive when a wrong shift at the wrong time – a pothole – caused the chain to go down. Primoz Roglic got off the saddle, put it back in place, waited for the push, returned to pedaling more convinced than before. After the finish he admitted he was wrong. It wasn't easy to say, it's always easier to say it's not my fault. It takes great serenity to admit that you risked not winning due to a mistake. He's a nice guy Primoz Roglic. He had a mad desire to break the world at the beginning of the year, he was almost breaking a gearbox to break the Giro.