Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar finishes third at the Vuelta behind the winner Primoz Roglic

Pogacar claims first-ever grand tour podium place for UAE Team Emirates

Primoz Roglic avoided any final day mishap on the Vuelta a Espana's ceremonial ride into Madrid on Sunday to become the first Slovenian to win one of cycling's three Grand Tours.

The former ski jump champion had assured victory on Saturday, only having to complete the 21st stage for the biggest success of his career.

Veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was second overall with Roglic's compatriot and UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar in third.

Pogacar, 20, not only climbed the podium but also secured the white jersey as best under-25s rider.

He was the breakout star of this year's Vuelta, and deprived Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez, one of the great animators of this tour, of the jersey.

The three-week race concluded in a sprint on the streets of the Spanish capital, won by Fabio Jakobsen.

Roglic had lined up as one of the favourites to succeed absent defending champion Simon Yates and he did not disappoint.

The member of Slovenia's champion 2007 junior world ski jump team had seized control of the overall standings by thrashing his rivals on the individual time-trial in stage 10.

Surrounded by a powerful Jumbo team, Roglic then demoralised pretenders on the mountains, proving unshakeable in the climbing stages.

Few victories come without a major scare and Roglic received his when arch-rival Nairo Quintana escaped in a crosswind last Tuesday and came close to grabbing the lead.

But Roglic survived and lined up for the traditional last day victory parade with a lead of more than two and a half minutes from Valverde.

Jumbo-Visma provided Roglic with a solid platform from which to take his victory, surrounding their leader with a strong team after he failed to close out the Giro d'Italia in May.

The victory emulates the performance of Yates in 2018, who had looked set to win the Giro before wilting, and then redeeming his reputation by winning the Vuelta.

Updated: September 16, 2019 02:44 AM

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