Slovenia's Primoz Roglic storms to time trial gold at Tokyo Olympics

Slovenian completed 44.2km course more than a minute ahead of runner-up Dumoulin

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic shrugged off his Tour de France disappointment by storming to the gold medal in the individual time trial at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

Roglic, 31, completed the 44.2km course in 55 minutes, 4.19 seconds, more than one minute ahead of silver medallist, and Jumbo-Visma teammate, Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands. Australia's Rohan Dennis completed the podium two seconds behind Dumoulin.

While the time trial in Tokyo provides one of Roglic's career highlights, the same format was responsible for one of his most crushing moments when he surrendered a commanding lead at the 2020 Tour de France on the penultimate stage. Roglic's Slovenia teammate Tadej Pogacar, the UAE Team Emirates star, would win that stage in France, claim the yellow jersey, and win the race.

Roglic's hopes of righting that particular wrong at this year's Tour were dashed after he withdrew before the start of stage nine due to injuries sustained in an earlier crash.

Roglic competed in the road race on Saturday and was involved at the front of the peloton before dropping back and finishing in 28th place. That decision to conserve energy for the time trial paid off handsomely with a stunning ride to clinch gold.

Slovenia has now medalled in both men's road races following the bronze on Saturday for Pogacar, who successfully defended his Tour de France title just six days before the race.

No mistake this time for Van Vleuten

In the women's individual time trial earlier on Wednesday, Annemiek van Vleuten delivered a similarly dominant performance to win the gold, days after mistakenly thinking she had won the road race title.

The Dutch rider crossed the road race finish line on Sunday arms aloft in full celebration believing she had won the race, only to soon discover that Austria's surprise champion Anna Kiesenhofer had completed the race one minute, 15 seconds in front.

Van Vleuten, 38, left nothing to chance in the time trial as she romped to gold, winning by a massive 56 seconds over 22km.

It was the sweetest of moments for the veteran cyclist in her last Olympics – having suffered her fair share of heartache – and a boost for the Dutch team who were left red-faced on Sunday when they got their calculations all wrong.

Van Vleuten, who suffered spinal injuries in a serious crash when in sight of gold at the Rio Olympics road race, was a class apart with Switzerland's Marlen Reusser the only other of the 25 starters to get within a minute of her time of 30:13.49.

Van Vleuten's teammate Anna van der Breggen, the reigning world champion, finished with a bronze medal, 1:01.63 back.

A laughing Van Vleuten joked "I'm number one right?" at the finish on the racing circuit – essentially what she said on Sunday when she crossed the line celebrating, unaware of Kiesenhofer's victory.

"I knew from the road race data that I was in super, super shape," the three-time world road champion said as she showed off her first Olympic gold.

"Everyone was talking about everything else, and no one was talking about the performance I left there. After the road race the (team) said I'm in super shape, I'm better than ever.

"I parked that negative energy. For me this is a bonus and, yes, it's very special to be an Olympic champion."

Updated: July 28th 2021, 8:57 AM
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