Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) has rounded out a rollercoaster season on the highest note possible with a second successive triumph in the Vuelta a España in Madrid on Sunday evening.
Roglič had an incident-free ride on the last 139-kilometre stage into the Spanish capital, crossing the finish line behind stage winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) in the main pack in 39th place.
The Slovenian, who turned 31 during the Vuelta, finished 24 seconds ahead of closest rival Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and 1:15 up on Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling).
Roglič crossed the finish line in Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana boulevard grinning broadly as he celebrated his twelfth victory of the season, then hugging his teammates as they gathered after the finish, and raising his bike overhead in triumph.
Roglič’s 2020 wins began with the Slovenian National Road Race, then continued with stages and the overall in the Tour de L’Ain, a stage win in the Critérium du Dauphiné, a second place and a stage in the Tour de France, victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and finally four stage wins, the points jersey and the overall in the Vuelta a España.
Roglič’s victory brings down the curtain, too, on cycling’s pandemic-afflicted season. But while the effects of the pandemia were notable in the safety precautions taken by the Vuelta, even on a largely ceremonial stage like the last one of the race, they could not overshadow the far greater triumph of the race’s success in being held at all, and in its reaching Madrid despite the extremely difficult external circumstances.
Apart from the masks and the fist bumps between the three riders on the podium, the most notable difference with Roglič’s final victory celebrations 2019 was surely the lack of public and applause in the finish, after organisers had requested the fans stay at home this year. The symbolic moment of Roglič receiving and donning the leader’s jersey for one last time was also missing.
Roglič was in an ebullient mood afterwards, underlying in his winner’s speech how appreciative he felt of the help and support received from his family, Jumbo-Visma teammates and staff en route to his second Grand victory.
He also had a word of thanks to the Vuelta organisation for their efforts in ensuring the race was held as safely as possible, and rounded it all off by hinting strongly that he might be back in the Vuelta in 2021 to try for a third straight win.
“It’s beautiful to be again on the podium,” Roglič said. “The year 2020 was quite a special one because of the coronavirus crisis, so I wish everybody good health. I’d like to thank the race organisers for making it happen. Many thanks to all the riders, specially my team-mates, so I could do my best and for sure to my family as well. They’re not here at the moment, but they make it possible that I am and [for me to be in] the place where I am.
“It’s nice to win the red and green jersey [overall and points] at the end of my season. So thank you very much and see you next year.”