Bilbao – Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) won the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday to establish himself as one of the favourites in the race around Spain as he is defending his overall winner title in the same race from last year.
In the 173-kilometre stage from Irun to Eibar, the 30-year-old defeated the closest followers Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Dan Martin of Ireland to put on the overall leader’s red jersey already after the first day.
“It is great to win. I’m very happy. The team has again showed that it is very strong. It has done an excellent job during the entire stage, and I returned the favour with the win. It is a nice way to start the Vuelta,” Roglič said.
“It has been a strange season, so I will enjoy the overall leader’s jersey from tomorrow on, and the fact that we are able to race here,” the Slovenian added after taking over the red jersey for the 12th time in his career.
Slovenia is celebrating a double win today as Jan Tratnik won the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia between Udine and San Daniele del Friuli to become only the fifth Slovenian ever to win a stage at the prestigious road race around Italy.
This made Slovenia the third country ever with stage wins at the Grand Tour races on the same day. The Giro and the Vuelta used to overlap, and the last time a nation managed the feat before today was in 1978 (Belgium).
This is meanwhile the third stage win ever for Roglič at the Vuelta a Espana, the race he won last year, when he also finished 3rd overall at Giro d’Italia.
Roglič’s best achievement this year by far is the 2nd overall place at the Tour de France, the race won by his younger compatriot Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates.