Primoz Roglic won the Giro d’Italia after crossing with the peloton on Sunday’s final procession stage in Rome, which was claimed by Mark Cavendish in his final ever appearance at the Italian Grand Tour.
Jumbo Visma rider Roglic, 33, has added another Grand Tour to his long list of honours which includes a treble of victories in the Vuelta a Espana.
The Slovenian topped the general classification after a cruise through the Italian capital, his triumph effectively earned after snatching the lead from Geraint Thomas in Saturday’s gruelling mountain-top individual time trial.
“I’m trying to enjoy the moment, enjoy also all the emotions and everything that happened yesterday,” said Roglic.
“Every win is definitely special and I’m just grateful to be able to achieve this one. It will stay in my memories for the rest of my life.”
Roglic virtually assured himself his first Giro and earned some redemption for a meltdown in similar circumstances three years ago at the Tour de France.
In 2020 it was Roglic who lost the Tour to Tadej Pogacar, who overtook his compatriot in the penultimate stage time trial and stormed to the first of his two triumphs at La Grande Boucle.
However Roglic made no mistake after earning himself a 14-second lead on Thomas on Saturday, easing to victory on the cobbled via dei Fori Imperiali which leads from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum and even managing to avoid the carnage of a crash in the final dash to the line.
“It’s been great, it’s been emotional. It’s been a great race,” said veteran Ineos rider Thomas despite the disappointment of defeat.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I might be 37 but I feel at least 27.”
Roglic wins a Giro blighted by bad weather and Covid-19, with dozens of riders dropping out over the three-week tour around Italy.
King Cav strikes
Overall favourite Remco Evenepoel exited with the virus after claiming the pink jersey with a time-trial victory in the ninth stage, while 2020 champion Tao Geoghegan Hart crashed out in the second week.
Cavendish ended his final ever Giro with a comfortable stage victory to take his tally of wins to 162, his 17th at the Giro.
The Briton, who will retire at the end of the season, was congratulated by riders from across the peloton after bursting over the line in classic style.
“I’m super happy. It was a long hard slog to get here to the end of the Giro. We were close a couple of times before,” said Astana’s Cavendish after his 54th Grand Tour stage win.
“To win here in Rome is incredible. That’s a bucket list to win outside the Colosseum.”
Cavendish won a stage which was designed as much to showcase Rome’s beauty in gorgeous late Spring sunshine than test the peloton, claiming his first win of the season after being led out by Thomas even though they race for rival teams.
“I was just there and saw he only had Luis Leon (Sanchez) with him. I thought I’ll help him out,” Thomas said.
No real moves were made until the riders began their six circuits of Rome after going to and from the seaside suburb of Ostia.
Maxime Bouet, Cesare Benedetti and Tom Skujins made a break which extended to 41 seconds with 50km remaining.
That gap was slowly chipped at until the final lap of central Rome when the sprinters began jostling for position and Cavendish made a move which suggests he can claim a record-breaking 35th stage win at this year’s Tour de France.
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