'I don't trust that guy' - Geraint Thomas on Roglic mind games at Giro d'Italia

 Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic do battle at the Giro d'Italia
Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic do battle at the Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas has offered an insight into the potential mind games being played by his main Giro d'Italia rival Primož Roglič, saying he doesn't trust the Slovenian and refused to get carried away by the possible early signs of weakness on stage 18.

Roglič was distanced a couple of times on the Passo della Crosetta, the category-1 climb that opened Thursday's stage in the Dolomites, leading to a wave of speculation that he might be suffering and vulnerable to attacks.

However, it later became clear that it had more to do with positioning than legs, as Roglič attacked on the steep ramps of the Col climb deep into the stage and distanced all his GC rivals but Thomas.

Speaking on his Watts Occurring podcast on Thursday night, Thomas revealed he'd noticed how Roglič was riding towards the middle and back of the group on the Crosetta, but didn't - despite an acceleration from his team that seemed to test and distance him - alter his game-plan.

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"Roglič was playing silly buggers," was how Thomas put it. "He was hanging out the back of the group. [Davide] Formolo comes up to me halfway up the climb and says 'hey G, Roglič is struggling at the back'.

"I was like 'ah mate, I don't believe it, but if he's struggling now he's going to be struggling at the end, we're not going to change our way of racing'."

Thomas then echoed a suggestion he has made previously at this Giro, that Roglič has form for indicating that he's struggling, only for the opposite to turn out to be true.

"I was like 'mate, I just don't trust that guy'," Thomas said. "He's always tired, isn't he? His legs are always hurting. Then he wins a stage.

"We just didn't let it affect us. Then sure enough on the last climb he comes up with Sepp [Kuss] as soon we hit the steep bit. I was like 'here we go'."

Roglič soon launched his own attack but Thomas was straight on it, as the pair's other key rival João Almeida was distanced. Thomas then tracked Roglič to the finish, later revealing more about the manner of the Slovenian's aggression there and on the short final climb to the line in Val di Zoldo.

"He was proper surging. He was doing 10-second spikes. It was almost like he was doing a training effort, like a spike threshold. I was like 'ah, he must be trying to get rid of me here, it can't be just that he rides like this. You know, like all the South Americans tend to ride up a climb. I was like 'mate, I'm not going to let you get away from me here.

"At one point, though, on the descent, Roglič took over and I let Sepp in between, and was like 'bollocks, he could properly flick me now'. It was narrow, twisty, he could easily let Roglič go but fair play to him, he didn't pull any silly little tricks like that, he let me past. Fair play to Sepp. He was riding really well as well.

"The last corner [on the descent], I thought it was a hairpin to the left, but it was just straight on to the last little kicker, so I braked then Roglič got 10 or 15 metres on me then saw he had that so stated really going. Man, that hurt a bit to close that."

Thomas and Roglič are currently engaged in the final direct confrontation of this Giro d'Italia, on the big high-mountain stage to The Cime di Lavaredo, which you can follow live on Cyclingnews.