Roglic was part of the LottoNL-Jumbo squad that claimed the decisive Stage 5 team time trial finishing second wheel to Jos van Emden, flushed but barely puffing.
LottoNL-Jumbo powered through the 15km uphill course from Cockermouth to Whinlatter in 19 minutes and 37 seconds, with Alaphilippe’s Quick-Step Floors squad 16 seconds in arrears and Katusha-Alpecin 20 seconds off the pace for third.
“It was difficult at the end, especially with the climb and you have to finish with four guys. But each and every one of our team did a perfect job, we all put it together,” Roglic said post-race.
The champion Slovenian is at the top of the general classification however, the imposing Quick-Step Floors is circling. Alaphilippe is six seconds adrift in second with his teammate Bob Jungels third at 16 seconds. Overnight leader Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) has slipped to fourth – 24 seconds back.
“It was not really an objective for me to race here on this tour but now for sure we will try to do our best and see what will happen,” said Roglic when asked if he could take the green leader’s jersey all the way to London.
The 28-year-old and Alaphilippe faced each other at the Tour de France in which they both marked breakthrough performances. Roglic won a stage and finished fourth overall, while Alaphilippe took two scalps and the King of the Mountain classification.
The sixth stage of the Tour of Britain tonight features a mountaintop finish that will set the scene for a dual between the pair, the rest and likely determine the race.
“We raced quite a couple of times this year and quite a couple of times I was second behind him in the sprint. He’s a nice guy, we know each other, and we’ll have for sure another big fight tomorrow,” said Roglic.
The potential face-off will also provide an indication as to their respective form ahead of the September 30 elite men’s road race World Championship, which both have medal ambitions in.
Roglic told Cycling Central earlier this week that he wasn’t feeling great here due to an elbow infection that required surgery and a tooth complaint in the aftermath of the Tour de France.
However, the dark horse turned household name now seems to be on an upward trajectory, barely able to wipe the smile off his face yesterday.
“After the antibiotics I wasn’t the best, still I don’t feel really the best, but it’s getting better and better, and I enjoy racing,” he said.