Madrid - Primoz
Roglic avoided any final day mishap on the Vuelta a Espana's ceremonial
ride into Madrid on Sunday to become the first Slovenian to win one of
cycling's three Grand Tours.
The former ski jump champion had assured victory on Saturday, only
having to complete the 21st stage for the biggest success of his career.
Veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was second overall with Roglic's compatriot Tadej Pogacar in third.
The three-week race concluded in a sprint on the streets of the Spanish capital won by Fabio Jakobsen.
Roglic had lined up as one of the favourites to succeed absent defending champion Simon Yates and he did not disappoint.
A member of Slovenia's 2007 junior world ski jump champion team had
seized control of the overall standings by pulverising his rivals on the
individual time-trial in stage 10.
Surrounded by a powerful Jumbo team, Roglic then systematically
demoralised pretenders on the mountains, proving unshakeable in the
Few victories come without a major scare and Roglic received one when
arch rival Nairo Quintana escaped in a crosswind last Tuesday and came
close to grabbing the lead.
But he survived and lined up for the traditional last day victory
parade with a lead of over two and a half minutes from Valverde.
Jumbo-Visma provided Roglic with a solid platform from which to take
his victory, surrounding their leader with a strong team after he failed
to close out the Giro d'Italia in May.
The victory emulates the performance of Yates in 2018, who had looked
set to win the Giro before wilting, and then redeeming his reputation
by winning the Vuelta.
While Roglic was the overall winner, his 20-year-old compatriot
Pogacar not only climbed the podium but also secured the white jersey as
best under-25's rider.
The UAE Emirates Team rider was the breakout star of this year's
Vuelta, and deprived Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez, one of the great
animators of this tour, of the white jersey.
Recent Vuelta a Espana champions after Primoz Roglic's win on Sunday:
2019: Primoz Roglic (SLO)
2018: Simon Yates (GBR)
2017: Chris Froome (GBR)
2016: Nairo Quintana (COL)
2015: Fabio Aru (ITA)
2014: Alberto Contador (ESP)
2013: Chris Horner (USA)
2012: Alberto Contador (ESP)
2011: Chris Froome (GBR)
2010: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)