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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 6, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? - George Carlin

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Vuelta a España stage 21 reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage and GC winner Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has won the Vuelta a España for the third consecutive year. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma defended his lead in the standings in the final time trial to Santiago de Compostella with flying colours. The Slovenian set the fastest time and won his fourth stage of this Vuelta.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic has won the Vuelta for the third time in a row. Sirotti photo

Roglic kicked off the 76th edition of the Spanish grand tour with a win in the prologue in Burgos. The Slovenian also took three more stage victories, including the seventeenth stage to Lagos de Covadonga. Earlier this year he won the Tour of the Basque Country and he became Olympic time trial champion. For Roglic it is his eleventh victory of the season and the 34th for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Roglic is happy that he has been able to win the Spanish stage race for the third time in his career. "It was another beautiful day and it were three beautiful weeks. I am very happy for myself and the guys around me. This is truly a team effort. It was a tough last stage. Still, I enjoyed the crowd and the support along the way."

"I just tried to focus on the stage today and to do my very best", the Slovenian continued. "It’s unbelievable, it’s crazy. Sometimes you win by a big difference, sometimes by a little. But any way of winning is fantastic. We took it day by day. I did my best and enjoyed it. I am honoured to win for the third time."

Sports director Grischa Niermann is more than proud of the performance of the Vuelta team. "It’s great to finish the Vuelta in this way. We knew that Primoz would be the big favourite for today’s time trial. He still had to go deep, but he managed to win the time trial. A great day. I have seen a strong team these weeks. When I look back at the last three Vueltas, this is the first edition where we had everything under control the entire race. I think we played it well. I realize how special it is to win for the third time in a row."

General manager Richard Plugge also expressed his admiration for the team in Spain. "I experienced the past weeks with pride. We have seen a very strong team. We were able to control the race in a good way. The strength of our team across the board makes me very proud. Primoz is one of the only three riders to win the Vuelta three times in a row. I think we have to keep realizing that only a few riders are able to win a grand tour. It is therefore very nice that we've now won again. You never get used to that and it is something to be very proud of. This season we are again one of the best teams in the world. We still see room for improvement, so we will continue to work hard on that in the years to come."

Enric Mas' Team Movistar posted this report:

The 76th edition of La Vuelta ciclista a España came to its close on Sunday as Primoz Roglic (TJV) claimed his third consecutive overall victory, via his fourth stage success at the 33km ITT stage 21 course from Padrón to Santiago.

The Movistar Team reached the last finish line of its fourty-second La Vuelta with great joy after getting back to the podium of a three-week stagerace, two years after Alejandro Valverde’s 3rd place overall in Madrid (2019). Enric Mas (2nd), always regular and consistent over the three weeks of racing and brilliant at most tough finishes -such as Velefique, Valdepeñas de Jaén (2nd) or Castro Herville (4th)-, experienced no trouble during the final TT (he was 9th, 2’04” behind the winner) and was able to enjoy his second top-3 finish in La Vuelta, stepping onto the podium alongside Roglic and Australian Jack Haig (TBV, 3rd).

Enric Mas

Enric Mas finishing his stage 21 ride. Sirotti photo

It was a really tough race for the Telefónica-backed squad, hampered by crashes and injuries from very early in the race. The losses of Alejandro Valverde -fortunatel now recovered from his injuries-, Carlos Verona -2nd atop the Balcón de Alicante- and Johan Jacobs severely weakened the Blues, which were still able to show their commitment and quality with enormous rides from Nelson Oliveira, José Joaquín Rojas and Imanol Erviti. The stage victory claimed by Miguel Ángel López -into the provisional top-3 until the second-to-last stage of the race- atop the Gamoniteiru was, together with Enric’s second spot, a fair prize to the big efforts made by the whole Eusebio Unzué-managed team.

“We’ve got to be really happy. In the end, only four of us were able to reach the finish, and three team-mates ended up in hospital after risking everything to help us – that’s really hard. We leave with this podium, which is a great source of pride for the whole team. I just want to say thank you, thanks so much to all riders and staff of the team. Everyone is important for this result.

“Yesterday was the very first time I felt really how I wanted after Tuesday’s crash, and it was a tough TT today, especially because, again, that pain relapsed near the end. I don’t know if you could see it on TV, but I wasn’t able to keep myself holding the TT bars and I had to take the drops, as if it were a normal road bike on a normal climb. I’m just grateful I didn’t have to contest the Vuelta win on this TT against Primoz, because he would have taken it away from me (laughs). It is true that, other than those time trials, I was thinking yesterday coming into  the hotel, and talking to my coach, that I needed to improve in those mountain stage finishes, because Roglic and the like end up taking some time on me, and that’s time I must not lose. It’s an aspect I must improve.

“And now? For the time being, having a nice dinner with the team, enjoying it, celebrating this result and, starting tomorrow, thinking about the late season. I’m feeling quite well and I’d like to take part in the Italian late-season classics, attractive races, beautiful events of cycling where I think I can do well.”

Here's the report from Michael Storer's Team DSM:

After 21 hard fought stages where Team DSM were to the fore almost every day, their brilliant Vuelta a España drew to a fantastic conclusion in Santiago de Compostela – with Michael Storer standing atop the podium, claiming the famous polka dot jersey as King of the Mountains after an incredible team effort.

Choosing their battles wisely throughout the race, Storer, Romain Bardet and the whole team were active on the mountain stages; riding aggressively and claiming three stage wins. On the back of those three incredible victories, it left Team DSM in a great position for the KOM jersey with both Storer and Bardet towards the top of the order, and Bardet moving into the jersey after stage 14. Riding tactically over the following mountainous terrain and the brutal climbs that the Vuelta had to offer, the squad ensured that someone in Team DSM colours secured mountain points; denying their nearest challengers.

Aggressive racing on stages 17 and 18 saw the team do that just brilliantly with Bardet passing the jersey to teammate Storer after he picked up points while going all-in on the attack. Riding cohesively in a unit on the challenging stage 20, the team did enough to ensure that Storer ended the classification in first with Bardet in second – a result that is testament to the team’s great attacking riding at the race, and a jersey win the whole team can be proud of.

Michael Storer

Michael Storer ended up King of the Mountains. Sirotti photo

“I’m really happy, it’s more than I ever expected to do at this Vuelta,” said Storer. “I’m really proud of myself and really proud of the team’s efforts as well; we’ve worked incredibly well together to bring this home. We literally have made each other better here, the way we have worked together is incredible; it’s been a really good Vuelta for us. This jersey is really one for the team. We are super happy.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “I think we’ve had a really Grand Tour with three stage victories. Having the King of the Mountains jersey in the team for well over a week shows how strong we were at getting in the breakaways. As a result of that, we were picking up points with two different riders and ultimately ending it with Michael taking the jersey. It’s testament to the commitment and teamwork that we showed to be in those breakaways. It made those days really good and I think we can look back and be really proud of it. We also worked super hard on the sprint days for Alberto and to see the train working in the way it worked on several of those sprint days. We came close several times with three podiums in the sprints and I think we made some really good steps across the whole team this Vuelta.”

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