Primož Roglič said he had nothing more to give in the final of Flèche Wallonne, as he narrowly missed out on victory.
The Slovenian star, riding his debut in the Belgian Classic, launched a relatively early move on the slopes of the Mur de Huy, attacking from the leading group 350 metres from the finish.
After pulling out a formidable gap, victory was within reach for Roglič, a Grand Tour winner, was caught in the dying metres by an untouchable Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Speaking after the finish, Jumbo-Visma leader Roglič said: “It was a fast race all day and nothing surprising at the end, we were going a bloc [full gas] and Julian had a little more so he definitely deserved to win.
“I was just finished and if I had more I would go faster, but he deserved to win.”
Alaphilippe has form in the gruelling Flèche Wallonne, having won back-to-back editions in 2018-19, but this was his first Classics win of 2021.
The world champion said before the race that he wasn’t expecting to compete in the final of Flèche Wallone, a bluff that may have caught Roglič off-guard.
Roglič added: “It was my first time and Julian had already won a couple of times. But I have no regrets. I went a bloc [full gas] on the climb and it was for second place, it was still a beautiful result.”
Alaphilippe and Roglič now head to the final spring Classic, Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday (April 25), having battled head-to-head in the sprint finish of last year’s Liege, with Roglič coming out on top after Alaphilippe celebrated too early.
On the upcoming Belgian Monument, Roglič said: “We’ll see on Sunday, it’s another day so hopefully I’ll have the legs.”