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Primož Roglič confirmed his overall victory at the 2021 Vuelta a España with a dominant performance in the final time trial.
The Jumbo-Visma rider beat Magnus Cort (EF Nippo) to the stage 21 victory, with both riders eyeing a fourth stage win of the race at the start of the day
Roglič clocked a time of 44-02 to beat Cort by 14 seconds in the 33.8km time trial in Galicia, securing a third consecutive red jersey in the process.
There was little to no danger to Roglič's overall victory from the other GC contenders, and he even caught his two-minute man Enric Mas (Movistar) who was riding safely to secure his second place overall finish.
There was a tussle for third place between Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), the latter setting off at a searing pace to take an early advantage. Haig was, in the end, able to finish 27 seconds ahead of Yates to secure his first Grand Tour podium finish.
How it happened
Despite being bookended by time trials, the Vuelta a España 2021 was bereft of specialists against the clock on the start list. That meant race leader and Olympic champion Primož Roglič was the clear favourite to win the final 33.8km time trial on stage 21, and confirm his overall victory in the process.
The early benchmark on the Galician course was set by Czech rider Josef Černý (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), a time of 45-18, but that was soon eclipsed by the in-form Magnus Cort (EF Nippo), who was looking for a fourth stage victor of this Vuelta.
The Dane executed a superb ride to go through the intermediate splits fastest before finishing with a time of 44-16.
There was then a long wait in the hot seat for Cort, whose lead went relatively unchallenged; Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) the rider to get closest at 38 seconds down.
None of the top-10 prior to Roglič got close to challenging for the stage win, with the only movement down the rankings seeing David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) jump two places into seventh with his time of 46-16.
There was a short-lived battle for third place in the time trial, as Adam Yates set off incredibly fast to try and gain the minute needed to push Jack Haig out of the third place spot.
Yates quickly went 28 seconds up on the Australian, but was unable to sustain his effort and eventually 27 seconds behind Haig who hung on for third overall.
Enter Primož Roglič. The last rider off resplendent in his red skin suit immediately looked like a man on a mission, and he confirmed his intentions as he went through the first time check faster than everyone else.
The only man who looked capable of ruining Roglič's party looked to be Roglič, as he narrowly avoided taking a wrong turn on a roundabout mid-way through the course.
As the kilometres ticked by the stage win was in the balance, though still in Roglič's favour. In the closing kilometre he caught his two-minute man Enric Mas, passing him on the final right-hand bend before the line, before finishing a comfortable 14 seconds ahead of Cort.
Vuelta a España 2021, stage 21: Padrón to Santiago de Compostela (33.8km, ITT)
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 44-02
2. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo, at 14 seconds
3. Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM, at 52 seconds
4. Josef Černý (Cze) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 1-16
5. Chad Haga (USA) Team DSM, at 1-43
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-49
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-52
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
9. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-04
10. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 2-06
Final general classification
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, in 83-55-29
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar Team, at 4-42
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Team Bahrain Victorious, at 7-40
4. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 9-06
5. Gino Mäder (Sui) Team Bahrain-Victorious, at 11-33
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 13-27
7. David De La Cruz (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 18-33
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 18-55
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 20-27
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 20-22
Points competition: Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
Mountains competition: Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM
Best young rider: Gino Mäder (Sui) Bahrain Victorious
Teams competition: Bahrain Victorious
Combativity award: Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo)
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