Roglic is Tour de France doubt after Criterium withdrawal

FRANCE: Overnight Criterium du Dauphine leader Primoz Roglic (pix) has pulled out of the Tour de France dress rehearsal before Sunday’s final stage with his team warning his plans were in jeopardy.

The Vuelta a Espana champion had been on brilliant form before Saturday’s fall, when his team Jumbo-Visma also lost the man who came third on the 2019 Tour de France, Steven Kruijswijk, to a dislocated shoulder.

The two formed part of the Dutch team’s trio of leaders with former world champion and Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin.

Announcing that the 30-year-old former ski jump champion would not start the fifth and final mountain stage Sunday, Jumbo hinted Roglic may be in worse condition than first thought.

“The evolution of his injuries will determine the plans for the upcoming races,” Jumbo said on Twitter.

The next race on his calendar is the delayed Tour de France which begins on Aug 29.

Jumbo general manager Richard Plugge says he is hopeful for Roglic, but less so for Kruijswijk.

“I don’t think it’s going to disrupt Primoz’s Tour preparation,” he said, contradicting an earlier statement.

“I certainly hope not,” he said.

“Stevie (Kruijswijk) had a dislocated shoulder and a lot of road rash. It’s premature to say anything more because we have to see how it goes tomorrow and the day after,” said Plugge.

Roglic withdrew after a nasty fall which left the Slovenian badly grazed after a crash early in Saturday’s penultimate stage.

At one point the race leader actually climbed into the back of his team car, but was persuaded to carry on and ride through the pain to the Megeve ski station summit.

Roglic won the Vuelta last September after coming close to winning the Giro.

He has been too hot to handle for all comers this season and has in his armoury an irresistable late kick over the final 500m.

His withdrawal leaves France's Thibaut Pinot heading the general classification by 10 seconds ahead of the concluding 153.5km fifth stage, which also starts and ends in Megeve with its panoramic view of Mont Blanc and over 50km of climbing on the menu.

Colombia’s Tour de France champion Egan Bernal of Team Ineos pulled out of the Criterium on Saturday with a back issue, while Bora-Hansgrohe’s Emanuel Buchmann, fourth on the 2019 Tour, also withdrew from the race after a fall. – AFP