Primoz Roglic Wins Final Stage to Secure a Hat-Trick of Vuelta a España Titles

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Primoz Roglic Wins Third Successive Title in Spain

Primoz Roglic secured an emphatic victory in the final stage of this year’s Vuelta a España as the Slovenian secured his third straight title in Santiago de Compostela, having won in both 2019 and 2020.

The 31-year-old produced another imperious display to further consolidate his position as one of the best riders on the planet, moving clear of eventual runner-up Enric Mas by 4mins and 42secs, making it the biggest margin of victory at a Vuelta since Alex Zuelle in 1997. He is just the third rider to win three titles in Spain after Tony Rominger and Roberto Heras, and only Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali are ahead of him in tour victories out of the current pool of riders.

In what was his fourth stage victory of this year’s tour, Roglic again showed his prowess as a time trialist adding to his first stage victory in the Burgos time trial. It is also less than six weeks on from his time trial Olympic gold in Tokyo, and the Slovenian showed no signs of fatigue as he paraded in the red jersey outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdecuvP0oMY

 

While the possibility of anything but a Primoz Roglic victory seemed slim, the final stage certainly had its fair share of gasp-inducing moments, albeit with Roglic somehow producing one of his most dominant displays yet. Most notably, the eventual victor found himself heading in the wrong direction as he navigated a roundabout, and managed to veer back onto the correct road just as he looked as if he was about to collide with the oncoming barrier.

It truly was a heart-in-mouth moment, and one that Danish rider Magnus Cort Nielsen must’ve thought would have handed him his own fourth stage victory at this year’s Vuelta. However, an otherwise impeccable ride from Roglic saw him finish 14 seconds ahead of the Dane.

With fellow compatriot Tadej Pogacar winning back-to-back Tour de France titles back in August, obvious comparisons have been drawn between the two Slovenians. Former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins told Eurosport;

“There’s an age gap, of course, so you can’t compare them like-for-like, and they’ve had different entries into the sport.

“It is the mindset that is the difference between the two. With Tadej you will see a display of genius and youthful exuberance whereas Primoz just ploughs along. His whole package has not got star quality, if that makes sense, whereas Tadej has a rock star quality.”
Primoz Roglic
Primoz Roglic (second left) wins a third successive Vuelta.
Image Credits: EPA
With Primoz Roglic writing himself into the history books with this latest victory, questions will certainly be asked of whether the 31-year-old has enough left in the tank to challenge for the Tour de France next summer. Having withdrawn from this year’s event after a brutal crash in stage three which left him heavily wrapped in bandages, Roglic will be more motivated than ever to add the most coveted prize in cycling to his personal accolades.
While Giro d’Italia winner Egan Bernal looked as if he may be entering the frame to challenge Pogacar in May, a mediocre display at the Vuelta has cast some doubt over his abilities after trying a 70km attack at stage 19, leaving him without the legs to compete for the podium places.
While the Colombian remains a threat, much of the emphasis for next year’s circuit has been placed on the battle between the Slovenians, particularly after Pogacar pipped Roglic to the yellow jersey at the 2020 Tour de France in the final stage.

 

 

 

 

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