Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Sep 5 (EFE).- Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic, riding for Jumbo Visma, won Spain’s Vuelta a España cycling race for the third straight year with a brilliant performance on Sunday, expanding his sizable lead over Spanish runner-up Enric Mas to 4 minutes 42 seconds during the race’s 21st and final stage, a 33.8-kilometer run from Padron to Santiago de Compostela.
Roglic overtook Mas in the final stretch of the race, even though the Spaniard had started the race two minutes earlier.
Over the past several years, Roglic has been the king of the Vuelta, Spain’s equivalent of the Tour de France, and the 31-year-old cyclist from Trbovlje won the final stage, his fourth stage win this year, with a time of 44.02 minutes and an average speed of 46 kph.
He beat out Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education) by 13 seconds and The Netherlands’ Thymen Arensman (DSM), and Mas came in ninth 2 minutes and 4 seconds back, although he finished in second place overall.
Roglic’s 4:42 time victory over the runner-up from Mallorca was the largest differential between the winner and the second place finisher in the last 24 years. The Slovenian had taken the red jersey – denoting the race leader – during a mountain stage last week and never relinquished it.
Australia’s Jack Haig (Bahrain) came in third overall, 7 minutes 40 seconds behind Roglic.
It was not even six weeks ago that Roglic had taken the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the cycling time trial.
With the win, Roglic has equalled the achievement of winning three straight Vueltas established by Switzerland’s Tony Rominger, who won the 1992, ’93 and ’94 Vueltas, and by Spain’s Roberto Heras, who won in 2003, ’04 and ’05, although he had also won the race in 2000.
Alberto Contador has also won the race three times, although they were not consecutive wins, coming in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
Roglic started his sports career as a ski jumper but then switched to cycling.
With his wife and son present, an emotional Roglic raised his arms to the skies above Santiago de Compostela after the race and listened to Slovenia’s national hymn for third consecutive year at the top of the winner’s podium.