According to Primož Roglič, Vincenzo Nibali’s animosity towards his Slovenian Giro d’Italia rival extended to the final podium in Verona. Roglič told Slovenian media, “At the winners’ podium I got ready for him to congratulate me, but he did not.”
During the Giro, Nibali was critical of Roglič not chasing down attacks, telling the press after Stage 13, “Today I said: ‘Listen Roglič, if you want to come and do a photo at my house, I’ll show you my bag of trophies whenever you want.’” At one point during the race Nibali also refused a fist bump with Roglič, claiming the gesture wasn’t something done in Italy, although he indulged winner Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa.
Nibali after refusing to fist bump Roglic: "In Italy, you never give the fist bump, that's more of an international thing. In Italy, like my grandparents & parents taught me, what matters more is the handshake. With a handshake, you understand the person in front of you." #Giro pic.twitter.com/SmWkY3AVu9
— Mihai Cazacu (@faustocoppi60) June 3, 2019
It was Nibali and Roglič’s myopic focus on one another that ultimately led to Carapaz becoming the first Ecuadorian to win a Grand Tour. By the time they woke up to the danger of Carapaz, it was too late.
Jumbo-Visma team manager Addy Engels also has admitted that lack of support in the race as one of the factors that hindered Roglič’s aspirations. Although Robert Gesink wasn’t available for Italy because of injury, and Laurens De Plus withdrew from the race because of illness, not having the team’s strongest riders cost the Slovenian time. “I cannot say that we would have won Giro with more support in the mountains, but we would certainly be closer. We would not be losing minutes,” Engels said. There was, of course, the travesty of Roglič being unable to take a fresh bike after a mechanical.
Nevertheless, it was the first Grand Tour podium for Roglič, the Slovenian having earned fourth last season in the Tour de France. His third place in the Giro surpassed the previous best by a Slovenian in Italy, Tadej Valjavec’s 9th spot in 2004 while riding for Phonak.
One of the hottest Grand Tour riders in the peloton, Roglič won’t be racing the Tour de France, now 26 days away. Jumbo-Visma released its lineup for France on Monday–the first squad to do so–with Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk, fifth in last year’s edition, as the protected rider and Kiwi George Bennett as his main lieutenant. With sprinter Dylan Groenewegen and “cyclocrossover” Grand Tour debutante Wout van Aert looking for stage victories, the team might have too many objectives for Kruijswijk to match or exceed last year’s placing.
Nibali will be racing his eighth Tour de France, looking for stage wins and a pitched battle with Julian Alaphilippe for the polka dot jersey. Carapaz is penciled in for the Vuelta a España along with teammates Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, the latter two slated for the Tour.