Paris-Nice – “Half man, half motorcycle”, Wout Van Aert impresses Primoz Roglic

We cannot repeat it enough, cycling is a team sport. Without the more than beneficial support of Wout Van Aert, Primoz Roglic would undoubtedly be mulling over his sentence. Again. The Slovenian has finally put his name on the Paris-Nice boards, breaking the curse that raged over his helmet in the hinterland of Nice. However, the former ski jumper came very close to disaster in a short and intense final stage.

Yet he had thought of everything, built all scenarios, shelled out all possible strategies. But why complicate the task when the form seems to be there? Authoritative winner at the top of the Col de Turini on Saturday, Primoz Roglic saw fit to squeeze the peloton like a lemon, and asked. Wout Van Aert came out of his long nap when approaching the Primavera (19 March) and laid the foundation stone of the platoon’s demolition company (68 km). Withdrawn over the weekend, the green jersey wearer repeated his streaks and hinted at promising form.

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Primoz Roglic and Wout Van Aert cross the finish line of the last stage of Paris-Nice 2022

Credit: Getty Images

In any case, this was necessary to cope with the load of the INEOS Grenadiers on the first slopes of the Côte de Peille (1st category, 6.6 km at 6.8%). Only WVA managed to accompany its leader, accompanied by a Colombian duo and Simon Yates (BikeExchange – Jayco). But very quickly, Roglic showed troubling signs, emptying his pockets by staring at the hood of his sports director’s car. Less surprising: the descents of the one who lives in the Principality had something to ruffle the hair of his sports directors. So many facts reflecting a lack of clarity, a consequence of a dubious form.

Van Aert: ‘He could barely talk at the finish. He didn’t thank me enough’

Fortunately for him, Van Aert hung out there. †It wasn’t easy todaySunday, Editor’s Note† It was hard and there is no last day in Paris-Nice without drama, confided to the eventual winner after the finish† On the last climb I was clearly not strong enough. It was a real fight. Fortunately, Wout (Van Aert) had a great day and was a great help. I’m super glad we did. But it really wasn’t easy

To say the least, as Simon Yates has complicated the job of the three-time Vuelta holder. A sudden acceleration from the Briton and an instantly bigger gap on the high percentages of the Col d’Eze (19km) suddenly dragged the last power out of Roglic, lying on his handlebars, his knees skating out. The pale look, the yellow jersey forced himself to follow his teammate’s wheel, air as there were few this Sunday. The vice world champion’s support in solo efforts was invaluable. Finally struck nine seconds on the Promenade des Anglais, Roglic didn’t even have the strength to thank his guardian angel anymore.

“He could barely talk on arrival. He didn’t thank me enough, Van Aert joked in front of our Belgian colleagues. I think we’re teammates for that. It was a race that we knew in advance that I had to be there for him and it turned out to be necessary.

The response from those involved was slow to get going, but it was worth the detour: “I need the whole team and Wout (Van Aert) specifically. He can do everything. Wout is half human, half motorcycle. I always say I’m happy and proud to learn from him and ride alongside him.”

No problem with France

The pleasantries exchanged, the winner of the Race to the Sun vintage 2022 poured out his difficulties of the day. †I think I put on too many layers of clothing from the start. I overheated. I felt better when I took them off, but it was too late explained Roglic† I didn’t really think I had a problem with France, but something happened all the time. In the end I managed to win something in France, a stage race (he already had a Tour de l’Ain to his name). I’ll sign right away so from now on everything will be fine in FranceAfter the click, Roglic aims for confirmation in capital letters at the next Tour de France, but this will necessarily be through the support of a Van Aert as light-hearted as during this last act on the Riviera.

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