Vuelta a España stage 21: Primož Roglič wins the final time trial to claim his third overall title
Enric Mas (Movistar) and Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) also secure their final podium positions in the 33.8km time trial.
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Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) blazed the closing time trial of the 2021 Vuelta a España to cement his overall lead ahead of Enric Mas (Movistar) and Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious).
In the battle for the general classification, Roglič’s lead of 2:38 over Mas after stage 20 seemed unassailable, barring catastrophe. And while he did nearly miss a turn late in the 33.8km time trial, Roglič still crushed the race against the clock, catching Mas in the final meters to gain another two minutes.
“It was a super nice day, and a nice finish,” Roglič said. “I am super glad and happy for myself and my guys and the whole team.”
The Vuelta’s final time trial went from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela, finishing in a stately square before a cathedral. The start was on cobbles, including two cobbled speed bumps. Riders did not get into their aero bars until they had crossed that initial section, and banked left to head for the smooth pavement that made up bulk of the course.
Mas had a 2:10 lead over third-place Haig coming into the final time trial, but Haig only had 60 seconds over fourth-place Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers). Yates clawed back some time from Haig on the first uphill portion of the time trial, but Haig paced himself well to ultimately beat Yates and secure his overall podium spot.
For a good portion of the day, Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) held the fastest time of the day at 44:16. It was an impressive performance by the rider who had already notched three wins at the 2021 Vuelta with stage 6, stage 12, and stage 19. The race awarded Cort the Most Aggressive Rider award of the 2021 Vuelta.
Only Roglič would go faster, stopping the clock at 44:02.
Despite his health margin coming into the final day — and his obvious time trial prowess most recently evidenced by his Olympic time trial gold medal — Roglič declined to celebrate the overall victory before the time trial was complete. Instead, he joked about having a few issues with time trials in the past — a reference to how he lost the 2020 Tour de France to a barnstorming Tadej Pogacar (UAE), who took nearly two minutes from Roglic.
While the top of the general classification did not change on Sunday, the race was still abuzz from the abandonment of Mas’ Movistar teammate Miguel Angel López the prior day. López had started the day in third overall behind Mas. But as the race exploded on the penultimate climb of stage 20, López had missed the split with Roglič, Yates, and Mas, and he gradually saw his podium spot evaporate.
Then, he stopped, and quit the race.
But on Sunday, Roglič was not focused on this or anything else in the past. Instead, he said, he simply focused on winning the stage.
While Mas and Haig used 56t big rings for the downhill portions of the course, Roglič pushed a massive 58t chainring. On the last kicker inside Santiago de Compostela, Roglič caught Mas and sprinted past him in a corner.
On being told after the finish that he won the Vuelta by the biggest margin in 24 years, Roglič seemed surprised, but mostly interested on the win, not the margin.
“Sometimes you win by a lot, sometimes you win by a little,” he said. “I am not focusing on numbers, statistics, and all these things. I just go day by day and try to do my best. I am honored.”
Results will be available once stage has completed.