Various Belgian media outlets have been left asking the question as to whether Slovenia's Primož Roglič should have – or could have – done more to help Wout van Aert to chase Frenchman, and eventual winner, Julian Alaphilippe in the final kilometres of the World Championships road race on Sunday. The Belgian finished second, but rode in the service of his Jumbo-Visma leader at the recent Tour de France, where Roglič finished second.
Roglič – riding for the Slovenian national team at the Worlds, as opposed to Van Aert's Belgian squad – was under no obligation to work for Van Aert, but the implication from the Belgian press was that if he was too tired to try to win himself, then he could have tried to lead the chase of Alaphilippe in the final 10 kilometres to have repaid his trade teammate for his work at the Tour, and given Van Aert more of an opportunity to have tried to become world champion.
"He [Wout] is just an amazing champion. At the end, for me, I just gave everything because he's still my [Jumbo-Visma] teammate, and definitely I'd prefer to see in that case that we'd catch Alaphilippe," Roglič told Belgium's VTM Nieuws in a video clip published by Het Laatste Nieuws on Sunday evening.
"But [I've got] nothing much to add – he's just an incredible sportsman and an incredible guy, and his result shows how good he is," the Slovenian said.
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The interviewer then pointed out that "from a Belgian perspective, it seems as though you didn't work for Wout", and asked whether he was too tired.
"Yeah – like I said, I was totally on the limit – you know what I mean?" replied Roglič, who took sixth place. "I couldn't even sprint at the end."
For his part, a disappointed Van Aert – who took silver in both the road race and in the time trial at the Worlds in Imola, Italy – seconded the notion that Roglič couldn't have done any more.
"I understand the question about Primož, but he did everything he could," Van Aert told reporters. "Of course, we spoke. I think he was on the limit. It says a lot about Julian's victory: there were five strong riders together, and we didn't take back a single second until in the last two kilometres. It was just the strongest rider out in front."
Former pro Eddy Planckaert, however, was particularly scathing of Roglič.
"If I were Van Aert, I wouldn't ride for Roglič anymore [after this]," the Belgian told Sporza. "After watching what Wout did for him at the Tour, I do blame him a bit.
"Roglic should have absolutely buried himself for Van Aert," he continued. "He could have brought him to within five seconds [of Alaphilippe], and then Van Aert could have won."