Primoz Roglic became the very first Slovenian to win a Grand Tour if he had been strangled Vuelta a Espana winner by completing Sunday’s processional final point.
Having done the hard work over the previous three weeks, Roglic successfully defended his sizeable lead over second-placed Alejandro Valverde in the 21st stage of the race, also a 106.6km journey in Fuenlabada into the center of Madrid.
Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen claimed the stage victory while world champion Valverde finished 19th in the stage, 17 seconds ahead of Roglic, who ended the race 2 minutes 16 minutes before the Spaniard.
Roglic’s compatriot Tadej Pogacar chose the position on the podium 38 minutes ago, rounding off a race.
“Winning this race is a terrific feeling and to maintain here with a different Slovenian makes it much better, it is good news for biking in our nation,” Roglic said from the podium outside the Cibeles Palace in Madrid.
“I have not had the time to consider all this, but all I know is that me and the group cried together to make history.”
Roglic revealed remarkable consistency throughout the race and was among the favourites to win a Vuelta, despite a solid start which saw also his Jumbo-Visma team-mates involved with a crash to the launching point.
The Slovenian lost 40 minutes as a consequence of the wreck to leader Miguel Angel Lopez but came flying right back with a success on the individual time trial to shoot the red jersey from Nairo Quintana.
His time trial exploits gave him a lead of 3 minutes the Slovenian seldom looked like surrendering his benefit, and although Valverde and Quintana traded places as Roglic challenger.
He’d suffer a scare when he crashed on stage 19 as cycling etiquette dictates that no strikes are allowed if a race leader possesses a mechanical issue or crashes, and Valverde’s Movistar team attacked to the outrage of several at the peloton.
Valverde eventually caved in to the protests and Roglic had been permitted to catch up with the peloton, by surviving the gruelling mountain point of Saturday to Plataforma de Gredos, and the general victory was sealed by him.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 83hrs 7mins 31secs
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team at 2mins 16secs
3 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 2mins 38secs
4: Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team at 3mins 29secs
5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team at 4mins 31secs
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7mins 16secs
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb at 9mins 47secs
8 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal in 12mins 54secs
9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team in 22mins 10secs
10 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott in 22mins 17secs
11 James Knox (Gbr) Deceuninck-QuickStep in 22mins 52secs
20 Tao Geoghegan Hart (Gbr) Team Ineos at 1hrs 4mins 4secs
70 Owain Doull (Gbr) Team Ineos at 3hrs 7mins 55secs
106 Ian Stannard (Gbr) Team Ineos in 4hrs 5mins 22secs
134 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4hrs 41mins 27secs
1 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 2hrs 48mins 20secs
Two Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Team
4 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
6 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
]9 Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott
44 James Knox (Gbr) Deceuninck-QuickStep at 14secs
51 Ian Stannard (Gbr) Team Ineos exactly the same time
101 Tao Geoghegan Hart (Gbr) Team Ineos at 38secs
124 Owain Doull (Gbr) Team Ineos at same time
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