Thursday 17 October 2019

Primoz Roglic becomes first Slovenian to win Grand Tour with Vuelta victory

(l-r) second-placed Team Movistar rider Spain's Alejandro Valverde, winner Team Jumbo rider Slovenia's Primoz Roglic and third-placed Team UAE Emirates rider Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, celebrate on the podium after the 21st and and last stage of the 2019 La Vuelta cycling Tour of Spain, a 106,6 km race from Fuenlabrada to Madrid. Photo: Oscar Del Pozo /Getty Images
(l-r) second-placed Team Movistar rider Spain's Alejandro Valverde, winner Team Jumbo rider Slovenia's Primoz Roglic and third-placed Team UAE Emirates rider Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar, celebrate on the podium after the 21st and and last stage of the 2019 La Vuelta cycling Tour of Spain, a 106,6 km race from Fuenlabrada to Madrid. Photo: Oscar Del Pozo /Getty Images

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic secured Vuelta a Espana victory to become his country's first Grand Tour winner.

Having effectively wrapped up the triumph by finishing the penultimate stage with the overall lead a day earlier, Roglic was confirmed as champion after completing the largely-ceremonial final stage from Fuenlabrada to Madrid.

The 29-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider ended up two minutes and 16 seconds ahead of Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the general classification, while Roglic's compatriot Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) was third.

Sunday's stage was won by Holland's Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who crossed the line just ahead of Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a sprint finish.

Roglic told Eurosport: "I am a little tired but it is just a great feeling that we won a nice race in cycling. I'm really happy that we finished it off.

"I still have a lot of things to do, and I am already thinking about other things, not just enjoying this moment."

Twenty-year-old white jersey winner Pogacar, who won three stages in what was his first Grand Tour, said: "It is really unbelievable.

"I still can't imagine that I was just standing on the podium next to world champion Valverde and one of the biggest Grand Tour riders, Primoz Roglic. It is an incredible feeling.

"It is really amazing how much we moved the cycling in Slovenia, and to be on the podium, two guys, one winning, it is really impressive."

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