MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic hinted he could try for a third consecutive success at the Vuelta a Espana after winning the race for the second time in as many years on Sunday.
Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic became the first rider to defend the Vuelta since Roberto Heras in 2005 with Germany’s Pascal Ackermann clinching the 18th and final stage victory in Madrid.
“It’s beautiful to be on the podium again,” said Roglic who had suffered a dramatic Tour de France collapse with victory in sight in September.
“The year 2020 was quite a special year because of the coronavirus crisis, so I wish everybody good health. I’d like to thank the race organisers for making it happen.”
“It’s nice to win the red and green jersey at the end of my season,” Roglic added.
“So thank you very much and see you next year.”
Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz finished runner-up after leading the general classification for five stages and putting Roglic under intense pressure in the penultimate stage on Saturday.
But Roglic rallied to avoid another collapse and instead took a 24-second advantage into the last day, which he maintained to cross the line as a worthy champion.
Britain’s Hugh Carthy secured third place while Ireland’s Dan Martin and Spaniard Enric Mas completed the top five.
Roglic’s triumph will taste particularly sweet after his nightmare on the Tour de France when he fell away at the end, allowing compatriot Tadej Pogacar to claim first place.
There was no flinching this time around, the 31-year-old a deserved winner and arguably rider of the year at the end of an unprecedented season.