STA, 29 July - Cyclist Primož Roglič finished the Tour de France on Sunday in fourth place overall for the best result for a Slovenian ever in the most prestigious cycling race in the world.
Roglič turned a new page in the Slovenian cycling history in the 105th Tour de France with the fourth place, beating Tadej Valjavec and Janez Brajkovič, who both finished ninth in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
"We have finished it, it's really great, an unbelievable Tour is behind us. We all can be very, very happy and proud for what we've done," the Slovenian told TV Slovenija. "The goal has been reached. I can be relaxed in the remainder of the season."
Asked whether he was aware of the success in what was only his second Tour de France, Roglič said "yes and no". "I'm still in a bubble. I haven't realised anything yet. I'm very, very happy and proud. To end the Tour in fourth place requires effort."
The last, 116-km stage of the race between Houilles and Paris was won by European champion Alexander Kristoff of Norway, followed by German John Degenkolb and Arnaud Demare of France.
The favourites, including the overall winner Geraint Thomas of the UK, made it to the finish line without problems, having the same time as the winner.
The 28-year-old Slovenian was third overall two stages to go, but lost the ranking on Saturday after a 31-km time trial, losing more than a minute of precious time.
In the mountain stages in the Alps and Pyrenees, which were the deciding stages, he was a match to the best cyclists in the world, earning his second stage win in the Tour de France on Friday to take the third place overall for one day.
Roglič, who won the cycling races in Basque and Slovenia this year, overtook last year's winner Chris Froome, who reclaimed the third place from the Slovenian yesterday.
Before leaving for France, the former ski jumper said he wanted to win a stage or two in the Tour de France and gain experience for attacking the highest spots in 2019 and 2020, but he showed already this year that he belongs among the best.