Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič of Team Jumbo-Visma claimed his second Vuelta a Españatitle on Sunday after emerging victorious at this year’s Vuelta a Espana, defending the title he won in last year’s edition of the same race.
The 31-year-old had entered the race on the back of a disappointing and gruelling three weeks at the Tour de France, where he lost the leader’s yellow jersey on the last weekend of the world’s most prestigious cycling race to compatriot Tadej Pogačar.
Roglič quickly put that disappointment behind him by claiming victory on Stage 1 of this year’s Vuelta, wearing the iconic red leader’s jersey for 13 of the 18 days of racing.
Closest rival Richard Carapaz from Team Ineos Grenadiers was 10 seconds ahead of the Slovenian heading into the last week of racing, yet Roglič was back in red following Tuesday’s time-trial as he claimed the stage victory by one second, yet more importantly, managed to build a 39-second advantage of the Ecuadorian in second.
Team Jumbo-Visma managed to safely navigate the next three days of relatively flat racing as Roglič preserved, and then extended, his lead, as his second-place finish on Stage 16 came with a time-bonus of six seconds, giving him a 45-second lead on the general classification ahead of Saturday’s final day of racing.
Sticking with his rivals for the majority of Saturday’s mountainous route, Carapaz finally managed to wriggle away from Roglič’s grasp with two kilometres left to climb until the finish line as he sought to make up the 45 seconds over his rival. After Carapaz crossed the finish, all eyes immediately turned to the clock to see how much of an advantage he had built over the Team Jumbo-Visma captain, who crossed the finishing tape 21 seconds later, his 24-second advantage meaning overall victory was all but secured ahead of Sunday’s ceremonial stage into Madrid.
The celebratory and final stage provided no drama for the overall contenders, with a sprint finish seeing Germany’s Pascal Ackermann from Team Bora-Hansgrohe taking the stage victory.
Thus Roglič, who managed an impressive four stage wins over the three weeks of racing, was crowned champion for a second consecutive year, while also defending the green jersey he won last year for the most points.
“It’s beautiful to finish the season like this,” Roglič said after the race. “I always say every victory is beautiful. It’s really hard to win. I’m just super happy that I could win and to finish the season like this.
“It was a special year. I wish everyone a good health. Definitely I would like to thank the organisers. They made it happen, we could still race in November. I want to thank all the riders, specially my teammates. I also received a great support from home, from my family even if they’re not here at the moment. It’s really beautiful to win the red jersey and the green jersey to finish this year. See you next year.”
Carapaz ended as runner-up, his second Vuelta podium finish after winning last year’s Giro d’Italia, while third place when to 26-year British cyclist Hugh Carthy, who ended a Vuelta in the top three for the very first time.
France’s Guillaume Martin (Team Cofidis) claimed the polka dot jersey for the best climber, while Team Movistar’s Enric Mas from Spain claimed the white jersey for the best young rider. The award for the most combative rider went to Team Deceuninck Quick-Step’s French rider Rémi Cavagna while Movistar won the overall team category.
Final General Classification standings
1 Primož Roglič (SLO), Team Jumbo-Visma: 72:46:12
2 Richard Carapaz (ECU), Ineos Grenadiers: 00:00:24
3 Hugh Carthy (GBR), EF Pro Cycling: 00:01:15
4 Daniel Martin (IRL), Israel Start-Up Nation: 00:02:43
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (ESP), Movistar Team: 00:03:36
6 Wout Poels (NED), Bahrain McLaren: 00:07:16
7 David De la Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), UAE Team Emirates: 00:07:35
8 David Gaudu (FRA), Groupama-FDJ: 00:07:45
9 Felix Grossschartner (AUT), Bora-Hansgrohe: 00:08:15
10 Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Movistar Team: 00:09:34